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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2004 9:20 am 
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Personally, I favour tzlaine's system, and after reading this thread I'm even more convinced.

My primary reservation with pooling PP would be that individual planets would lose their flavour. But I don't think this is important, and has been adequately addressed: worlds that matter would have plenty of flavour, determined by their location and the unique buildings on them.

Regarding the 400 small fighters vs 1 ship:
If 400 ships take 4000RP and 2 turns, while a deathstar takes 4000RP and 10 turns, then the answer is obvious - a deathstar should be superior to 400 small fighters. We will balance the ships for the game we make.


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 Post subject: Re: Begging your pardon
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2004 1:35 pm 
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guiguibaah wrote:
=> Basically, how best does the proposed system we are contemplating serve a game that is very flexible and wide-ranging. At one extreme, we have a small galaxy world (40 stars) with very few planets, lots of computer opponents, and low tech. The amount of viable planets under the player's command could range from around 1 to 10.

At the other extreme, we have a huge galaxy (500 stars) with many planets, few computer opponents, and high tech. In this case the amount of viable planets under the player's command could range into the thousands.

Then, there is something in between. An empire growing from that 1 planet to the 1000 planet juggernaught. Does the system foster early game interest, while still being manageable in the late game? How well does it adapt as time goes on? Does it lend itself to being adaptable?


This was my major concern at first, but I think tzlaine & co. addressed it. We need to balance things appropriately so that you don't have to have X number of planets just to make the game playable; you should always be able to build a reasonable number of things at a fairly low tech level. Civ handles this pretty well, I think.

But the challenge will certainly be to do the balancing.

I'm going to give this review another day or two and then close it.

-Aq

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 Post subject: Re: Begging your pardon
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2004 5:36 pm 
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guiguibaah wrote:
... Perhaps the solution may be to have an option for both.. (Perhaps in early game everything is built at the planet level. Late game the player wants could toggle a 'switch' and have that planet transfer it's PP's into the global fund - with appropriate penalties and balances, of course??? I dunno)
.



That is one idea of mine, you can still have an imperial queue, but pooling of PP (and Nutrients and Minerals and possibly Money) Could require techs. [various types of transport techs probably]

This would mean that early game each planet has to be self sufficient...early techs allow System wide pooling of resources...and midgame techs finally allow empire wide resource pooling.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2004 6:10 pm 
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@Krikkitone

That idea scares me because I think players would purposely delay the tech advance in order to abuse individual planet production. There would be an advantage in being able to queue individual planets as opposed to an empire wide queue and the player may abuse that ability.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:25 pm 
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Well the imperial queue would never change, only what resources were available to the items on the queue.

(plus if Nutrients were included, I sure would want some of those tech breakthroughs so my uninhabitable planets could produce something besides food to keep themselves alive)

Individual planet production would be a severe disadvantage, as excesses couldn't be shipped to places with deficits.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2004 8:24 pm 
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Tyreth wrote:
Regarding the 400 small fighters vs 1 ship:
If 400 ships take 4000RP and 2 turns, while a deathstar takes 4000RP and 10 turns, then the answer is obvious - a deathstar should be superior to 400 small fighters. We will balance the ships for the game we make.
So we need to make big limitations on the balancing that can be done on ships, so that the restriction that was put into place so that you can't build something too powerful too fast still works, so that the system of shared production doesn't lead to huge imbalances... This level of "fixing the fixes" seems to indicate that the system if flawed and that an alternative rule would work better.

There is also the issue of being able to have a shipyard very far from your core worlds output the whole production power of the empire. Building some (not a whole empire's worth) ships very far away is fine, but military strategy should involve moving ships to where you need them, not building them where you need them.

I'd be fine with pooled production if there is a limit on local spending. If ships only are build with pooled production, then a limit on spending per turn a particular shipyard would be the obvious way to do this. Having "levels" of shipyard might also be interesting, with more expensive (upgraded?) shipyards being able to spend more PP / turn and being able to make bigger or more advanced ships. With pooled production, there would only be a few shipyards, so dealing with "levels" of shipyards wouldn't be a huge micromanagement issue, lest you worry about that. If you can upgrade a shipyard, then there's also no need or advantage to build a whole bunch of them... you're better off concentrating the output capacity where you can make higher tech ships. (Far off shipyards would have much more limited output capacity than core shipyards, due to time and large planetery industry needed to upgrade them.)

I'm very opposed to a system where bigger ships are necessarily better than smaller ships. This is boring and unstrategic. A system where new ship hull sizes / classes add the to the mix of strategic options is much more interesting. Think starcraft -> marines/zerglins/zealots are still useful at the end of the game. This is much better than everyone building all of the same mega-death stars at the end of the game.

Limited spending pooled production seems the best solution, to me. It, I think, achieves all the goals of pooled production, without most of the problems. It's not effectively the same as local only production, and doesn't have most of the associated problems. The exact mechanism of production limitations (shipyard level, or planet industry output, or whatever) isn't that important.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2004 9:13 pm 
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If you've already stated your case, please stop using this thread to discuss it.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2004 10:04 pm 
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we could make an option beween the two.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2004 2:14 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
So we need to make big limitations on the balancing that can be done on ships, so that the restriction that was put into place so that you can't build something too powerful too fast still works, so that the system of shared production doesn't lead to huge imbalances... This level of "fixing the fixes" seems to indicate that the system if flawed and that an alternative rule would work better.


It's not like that at all. It is the same kind of decision you make when you say, "Right, this ship has these stats, what is a reasonable price?". Then, you work out the cost.
The same thing exists for local build queues - you decide how much a ship should cost given its benefits. It's not about fixing the fixes at all, it's all about the single decision making that has to be done when deciding the value of a particular ship - and that exists no matter what kind of build system we use. What about with local queues when you build a deathstar at a single location vs 400 small fighters across many of your colonies? The same problems exist.

Anyway, I don't want to get into a debate, because that's not what Aq wanted this thread for.

Quote:
I'm very opposed to a system where bigger ships are necessarily better than smaller ships. This is boring and unstrategic. A system where new ship hull sizes / classes add the to the mix of strategic options is much more interesting. Think starcraft -> marines/zerglins/zealots are still useful at the end of the game. This is much better than everyone building all of the same mega-death stars at the end of the game.


I agree with you on this, and it's a question for the creativity of our team later down the development path. There's nothing about my statements that states we can't make small hulls have an inherent advantage that larger hulls lack. Just a simple rule applies to all these decisions: you should get what you pay for. No more, no less.
If a small fighter has certain advantages, then his cost should reflect that. This is true regardless of our build system.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2004 9:43 am 
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tzlaine wrote:
With pooling, you have a small number of shipyards, each of which can accept a relatively large amount of your empire's PP; let's say you have 5 of them. That's five queues to deal with. Without pooling, you can only build ships at the comparatively low rate of a single system's PP, so you will of course try to make as many shipyards as you can to put as much of your empire's PP capacity to work as possible building ships. Let's say you have 25 of them. That's 25 queues to deal with. I feel that fewer queues is an inherently better situation.


This is the reasoning behind my proposed 'limited' pooling, or cross-location assistance.

Far from having "a small number of shipyards ... say 5 ", with your proposed 'unlimited' pooling of production I can't see why there would be any incentive for a player to utilise more than one shipyard at a time? That is, unless we introduce a location based PP per turn usage cap, and idea which you specifically rejected. Could you explain 1) exactly what mechanism you propose will result in these ~five active shipyards, rather than 1 or perhaps 2?

Geoff wrote:
Another issue for shared PP: You can build just as effectively at a shipyard that's very far from your core industrial worlds as you can in a core world shipyard. This means if you've got a single shipyard right next door to the enemy empire, you can suddenly produce a fleet of ships there without warning or delay due to transit. It might also become, in some cases, faster and easier to build a new fleet at this far removed shipyard than it would be to fly your fleet to the enemy...


Yes, that is the point, and I would agree that in tzlaine's proposed unlimited pooling regime, it is a flaw, since the shipyard could be built quickly, limited at best by a minimum turn limit to build a shipyard, and then an armada of low turn minimum ships could be churned out simultaneously, which I feel gives too much advantage to this insta-shipyard tactic.

Under a 'limited' pooling system however, the build up of a workable shipyard at that location woudl take more time because the border world was small an underdeveloped, and so had a low per turn investment cap. In addition the shipyard complex would need to be built up to a capacity that could produce many ships simultaneously, and these capacity upgrades would take place in sequence. I.e. taking quite a long time, during which the undefended developing shipyard complex right on the border would be a prime target for your opponet, and a huge great warning of attack. So you'd have to defend the complex with ships, and that idea, openly defending a border world for many turns while you build up a major shipbuilding capability there, removes the 'exploit' part of the experience, and makes it a 'strategic feature' instead. Any enemy stupid enough to let you do this, deserves to sufer from the 'time-to-front' benefit you'd get once you'd managed the feat.

A question to tzlaine. I note you have converted to pre-placement: under your proposal how exactly many things can be built simultaneously by the empire that are destined for one location (planet or shipyard (or other?))? If many, could you then plop out a defended, shipyarded, special-buildinged world limited only by the longest minimum turns of all the items, rather than the sum of the turn limits?

I suspect the answer to all my concerns will be that behind the scenes Drek and Tzlaine have actually converted to the idea of having shipyards (and perphaps even planets) have a maximum per turn spending level, they've just failed to mention this to the rest of us, which is why we can't see how the system they propose can possibly work.

The idea of having only project time limits to limits spending rates only works if shipyards are limited to building one thing at a time, if they can build more than one, then it is borked, because many small ships would allow you to circumvent this and build faster than a few large ships, so they cannot be balanced on cost, but the cost must be adjusted to compensate for the relative times, which affect small and large empires radically differently, so cannot be done.

On the other hand if shipyards can only build one thing at a time, then even a global queue won't save us from the pressure to build many shipyards.

The only solution that avoids both problems is a limit on shipyards in both PP/turn terms and simultaneous projects terms, with shipyards upgradeable in either directions, so that a player could choose between a large ship or small ship strategy, and yet still be encouraged to have a limited number of shipyards.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:22 am 
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hmm, i had a idea that might adress both no pooling and using rare shipyards. What's about assigning a planet to a specific shipyard? this way we have limited shipyard queues and every ship which is constructed at a shipyard is under the hat assigned to a specific planet and is this way limited in matters how fast it will be constructed by that planet PPs.

@aq. I only throw it in at this place because here will the decision pro/con pooling be made.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2004 4:13 pm 
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noelte wrote:
hmm, i had a idea that might adress both no pooling and using rare shipyards. What's about assigning a planet to a specific shipyard? this way we have limited shipyard queues and every ship which is constructed at a shipyard is under the hat assigned to a specific planet and is this way limited in matters how fast it will be constructed by that planet PPs.

@aq. I only throw it in at this place because here will the decision pro/con pooling be made.


Sounds like a Space Empires III model. It was quite good in that game, IMHO.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2004 4:25 pm 
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emrys wrote:
A question to tzlaine. I note you have converted to pre-placement: under your proposal how exactly many things can be built simultaneously by the empire that are destined for one location (planet or shipyard (or other?))? If many, could you then plop out a defended, shipyarded, special-buildinged world limited only by the longest minimum turns of all the items, rather than the sum of the turn limits?


There will of course be requirements for placing things at a certain location. For instance, it makes no sense to build a ship where there is no shipyard. So in order to put something in the queue, you need to be able to build it there. This implies sum-of-turns, rather than maximum-number-of-turns.

Quote:
I suspect the answer to all my concerns will be that behind the scenes Drek and Tzlaine have actually converted to the idea of having shipyards (and perphaps even planets) have a maximum per turn spending level, they've just failed to mention this to the rest of us, which is why we can't see how the system they propose can possibly work.


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.

Quote:
The idea of having only project time limits to limits spending rates only works if shipyards are limited to building one thing at a time, if they can build more than one, then it is borked, because many small ships would allow you to circumvent this and build faster than a few large ships, so they cannot be balanced on cost, but the cost must be adjusted to compensate for the relative times, which affect small and large empires radically differently, so cannot be done.

On the other hand if shipyards can only build one thing at a time, then even a global queue won't save us from the pressure to build many shipyards.

The only solution that avoids both problems is a limit on shipyards in both PP/turn terms and simultaneous projects terms, with shipyards upgradeable in either directions, so that a player could choose between a large ship or small ship strategy, and yet still be encouraged to have a limited number of shipyards.


Again, this is pretty much how I conceptualized shipyards from the earliest discussions of them. I don't remember anyone saying anything otherwise.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2004 9:12 pm 
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Quote:
I suspect the answer to all my concerns will be that behind the scenes Drek and Tzlaine have actually converted to the idea of having shipyards (and perphaps even planets) have a maximum per turn spending level, they've just failed to mention this to the rest of us, which is why we can't see how the system they propose can possibly work.


I haven't been converted, just out-voted. :P


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:15 am 
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#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).

#2: Should you build them somewhere specifically, or build them in purgatory and place them afterwards

It should be produced at a certain location (planet), a location that meets the necessary requirements (shipyards etc.) to produce the project.

#3: Should you be able to pool multiple planets' production capacities?

Absolutely no! If we allow pooling possibly combined with purgatory production or MoO3-type mob centers, then all empires will become pretty much equal except in production power. What I mean is that my empire produces 4000 pp and yours 4500 pp, so yours can produce slightly more every turn, and that is the only difference. It does not matter if your race lives on smaller planets while mine are larger. It does not matter that your planets are scattered over a huge territory while my producton power is concentrated in a few powerful planets. We both have our pool, and all we do is decide which ships to make. All ships pop up right at the front, since we have our mob center there, and it does not matter that half of the planets that constructed them are light-years away. Your fleet against my fleet. The larger fleet wins, and the game is over (ok, I am neglecting ship design and simplifying things a little, but I think my point is obvious anyway). Aquitaine has a good point in that such an approach defeats the purpose of a strategy game.

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.

For that reason, 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. Distance can also play a role in your decision which planet delivers to which rally point. That makes your empire individual. Distances, star lanes and general topology do matter and distinguish your empire from others with similar overall pp capacity, but different layout.

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.

tzlaine wrote:
Quote:
Alright, maybe not every argument against PP pooling applies to RP as well, but the major ones seem to.


The major argument agaist PP pooling is that it reduces game complexity and empire individuality. We want to be spared from excessive micromanagement. PP pooling goes further: it makes the game primitive.

drek wrote:
Quote:
unless you are saying that ships deploy at the same planet in which they are constructed then move to a central rally point, which is just not going to work.

1) What if the planet producing ship X from the global queue is attacked and conquered? What happens to the project? This is bad if the player is relying on your little queue robot, and it decides to build ships near dangerous areas.


Assigning planets a classification (similar to MoO3) when you colonize/conquer it will prevent this. You can then give every production order in your global queue a priority. The CPU will not assign high-priority jobs to planets that you classified as "frontier". Of course it is also imaginable to have classifications change on automatic depending on certain factors. MoO3 is a working example what this can look like.

drek wrote:
Quote:
2) What if the path between the producing world and the rally system is unsafe? What if the path becomes unsafe after the project has already started to build?


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.

Of course it may mean a severe hit against your empire if an important ship cannot join your other forces because its production system was isolated from your main empire while it was in production. But giving a severe blow to your empire was the point of the enemy attack... and it was your fault to classify a planet that could be isolated as safe for important production. This is what makes topology an important part of the game. We should not take away the chance to make strategic maneuvers - and mistakes - or we will end up making a boring game.

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.

drek wrote:
Quote:
3) What if the global queue chooses a world for producing ships that, a turn later, I decide needs a shiny new building?


I can see three possible approaches to solve this:

a) you could be allowed to pause the current ship production and do the building first as an imperial intervention to the standard building queue. The planet will resume the ship production when the special imperial (player) order has been completed.

b) you are out of luck and must either cancel the ship (losing one turn on one planet, big deal) or decide that your building can wait until after the ship, so you just add it to the planetary building queue

c) Buildings are something special in our current plans, and as far as I have understood it they are always on planetary level. We could run a separate local queue for buildings on every planet, a queue that is only used for special buildings and only filled by the player (since standard buildings like Robotic factories have been abstracted into a "infrastructuremeter"). Placing a special building into the queue of a planet will pause normal production until the building is complete. This is actually a variation of variant a).

So the problems you named are all solvable. I see no reason to accept the grave disadvantages of a PP pool because of them.

tyreth wrote:
Quote:
My primary reservation with pooling PP would be that individual planets would lose their flavour. But I don't think this is important, and has been adequately addressed: worlds that matter would have plenty of flavour, determined by their location and the unique buildings on them.


Umm... with production pooling, their location is absolutely unimportant with the only exception that the enemy might want to attack them with priority if he finds out where they are. But other than that, it does not matter at all where you have your special buildings and your important worlds. They just fill their output into the pool. How boring.

I would also like to respond to a major point of Aquitaine's initial text that nobody else responded to so far. Aquitaine asked how to adequately display the infrastructuremeter on planets. A 100% display could suddenly change to 90% if a new econ building has been researched.

In my eyes, the answer is simple: Do not display the infrastructuremeter percentage-wise. Display the absolute number of pp (or rp or farming or whatever) generated on that world. With a little experience the player can be expected to interpret that number and assess the production power of that planet.

Aquitaine also suggested that the single production queue always assumes the fastest location, i.e. the planet that can produce the selected project in the least amount of turns. The flaw of this approach is that your most powerful planets will be able to produce most stuff fastest, but you do not want to have your strongest planets an endless waiting queue of projects to be done, while your weaker planets are sitting idle because they never ever get a project. As the consequence, projects must also be distributed based on load of the planet's manufacturing resources. I also suggest that every project you put into the global queue must be assigned a priority. Low priority projects go to weaker worlds and to worlds nearer to the frontier, while high priority projects go to the most powerful manufacturing worlds in the rear (your soft underbelly).

I also have a question left: KISS has been mentioned several times in this thread.

What is KISS?

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