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 Post subject: Fuel parts auto upgrade
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:22 am 
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Dyson Forest

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I often research deuterium to give my organic ships a range boost.

After reading in a github discussion that a default ship design should not use deuterium tank ('because nobody researches those'), I think we should kind of merge the fuel parts into a single one which improves using technology.
It would make manual design upgrades unnessecary (and choosing the type of tank is not an interesting design decision in the first place).

I would suggest that max_fuel increases in old ships slowly to the current tech given one if the ship is supply-line connected.
Maybe 0,5 per turn?

What you think?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:26 am 
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Sounds reasonable...

Though why not instant upgrade to the latest available fuel capacity when in supply range?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:48 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Though why not instant upgrade to the latest available fuel capacity when in supply range?
This would match how beam weapons upgrade, so good idea. Also like the general idea that fuel cells upgrade, that will definitely make me use them more.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:20 pm 
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Yup, fine with the plan.

As it's me quoted: the reason fuel isn't researched much from feedback in general is that Supply is to easy to propagate, on my list of Things To Balance at some point during the tech tree rework is to change both Gravitic Architecture and Galactic Infrastructure so that they don't basically make supply problems completely irrelevant, at which point fuel becomes more useful again, but I've currently only got a few nascent ideas as there are far bigger problems within game balance currently.

Basically if you can extend your supply lines easily into the territory you're attacking, you don't need fuel, change it so supply doesn't propagate as easily then fuel becomes a more useful part: note, this if for blunt force attack strategy, you do need it for subtle stealthy goodness sometimes.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:04 am 
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The Silent One wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Though why not instant upgrade to the latest available fuel capacity when in supply range?
This would match how beam weapons upgrade, so good idea.
Seconded.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:13 am 
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Is this principle applicable to other part types, besides fuel?

Detection, stealth, speed / engine couplings, and some of the shields are basically the same thing with bigger numbers. I'm also pondering how to implement a battle scanner part or series of parts that reduce enemy stealth during battles by different amounts.

Some special cases within each category might be kept distinct even if some parts are merged, though, such as robotic interface shields vs. generic shield parts.

A concern with this approach is that, for parts that presently are balanced by having a substantial cost or production time, that can't increase for refinements as it can for separate parts. Just using up a hull slot is perhaps not sufficient cost for some of the currently more expensive part types...


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:56 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
A concern with this approach is that, for parts that presently are balanced by having a substantial cost or production time, that can't increase for refinements as it can for separate parts. Just using up a hull slot is perhaps not sufficient cost for some of the currently more expensive part types...
That is a very important consideration, didn't think of that when agreeing with applying the "automated upgrade mechanic" to the fuel parts.

I think the only parts which should be upgradeable that way are parts that don't have increased build costs for more advanced versions, or where the build costs aren't really important to balancing them (e.g. because the balancing depends mostly on the research costs for the required techs, or certain strategic resources, etc.). So, shields for example definitely do not meet that condition, and should not be upgradeable like this. That would make balancing them completely impossible.

Wrt to the fuel parts, I'm now a bit torn. Their build costs are so low that they don't matter that much, and having more fuel, while certainly very handy in some situations, isn't really such a powerful thing, for the reasons cited by others above. We'd probably had to raise the costs for the basic fuel part a bit.

But generally this "automated upgrade mechanic" probably only works for parts that have refinements like the weapons do. You can only auto-upgrade Laser I to Laser II and so on, not Laser to Plasma etc. Going from Defense Grids to Deflector Shields (or going through the different tiers of the stealth, engine, detection etc. parts for that matter) is actually the same as going from one weapon type to the next, and not like getting a refinement. So (in general) we should restrict the auto-upgrading to refinements only.

However, maybe it's an idea worth considering if there are more parts than just the weapons where we could redesign the tech tree to have them progress through different types with refinements like the weapons do (e.g. the stealth parts)?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:25 am 
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Something to consider when merging a series of parts, which just get +1 or +10 when moving to the next version, into a single generic part that gets refinement boosts, is that there can also be different versions of that part type that are distinguished in other ways. For a stealth part, the generic part could work as now, but there could be another (also refineable) part that is more situational. For example, the part could only function while in a passive fleet, or only while stationary, or only while in certain system types or other galaxy terrain features. Doing variant part types like this is probably a lot easier when there is only a single generic part instead of 4 or so for the various upgrades, as there's no so much clutter in the list of part options for players to consider.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:11 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
However, maybe it's an idea worth considering if there are more parts than just the weapons where we could redesign the tech tree to have them progress through different types with refinements like the weapons do (e.g. the stealth parts)?


Maybe shields could work like weapons as well. Deflector I, Deflector II, Deflector III, Deflection IV. Easier to research refinements of existing shield technology then new shield technology and be auto upgradeable.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:10 pm 
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AndrewW wrote:
Maybe shields could work like weapons as well. Deflector I, Deflector II, Deflector III, Deflection IV. Easier to research refinements of existing shield technology then new shield technology and be auto upgradeable.
I thought of that as well, but I'm a bit wary. The progress in strength for shields is: 3 (Defense Grid) => 5 (Deflector Shield) => 9 (Plasma Shield) => 15 (Blackshield), for the "standard shield" line (without the special case Multi-Spectral Shield).

That does not leave much room to squeeze in more granular stat increases for refinements. And given that shields in FO are very powerful, the difference between the stats for the basic version of a shield type and its best refinement must not be too big, otherwise you get too much power for too less PP. Imagine having only two refinements for the Defense Grid, which will give us Defense Grid I (basic version), II and III (two refinements). Even if the increase in strength was only 1, that would make the Defense Grid III as powerful as the Deflector Shield, but at the build cost of a basic Defense Grid. However, the Deflector Shield is much more expensive than a Defense Grid for a reason, such a Defense Grid III would be very unblanced I think.

I haven't had any useful idea yet how to get that right - so that you get a similar dynamic with researching shields as we have it with weapons now, without making shield refinements too powerful.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:17 pm 
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I've mentioned pondering various ways for stealth/detection parts to have refinements in the stealth thread I started, and I'd also be up for pondering other things.

With fuel, having a single very low cost part that gets refined over time is fine because it's a rarely used and fairly useless thing, but merging all shields, etc into 1 isn't as good a plan from a balancing perspective.

Having refinements for the existing shields (or even just stuff like "immune to molecular clouds") would be fine but the current number range for damage/structure/shield doesn't work with that. Nothing to say we need to keep the current numbers though, you could double every stat in the game for greater long term flexibility if you wanted to without affecting balance (as long as you get all the relevent stats).

But I'd be loath to jump into that sort of project while the current numbers aren't right and a bit in flux, the current shield stats are new and while I'm now happy with them I'm not sure they're established enough, the weapon refinement system is relatively new and we're still finding occasional bugs (a patch fixing Experiment Zero is in my working branch but it introduced a different bug and I got bored with it).

I definitely want a battle scanner idea, possibly a separate part or possibly simply included in the existing scanner parts, I'd also like to see the current large jump in detection range reduced with refinements getting it up, same for stealth parts, etc. they DEFINITELY need refinements to make stealth even vaguely viable against a thinking opponent.

I definitely like situational bonuses: I've not solicited feedback on what I did for the Spatial Flux but I really like the way that works in the game, more of that sort of thing building upon Geoff's passive/aggressive toggle is definitely something to do, the Multi Spectral Shield is an obvious one to work on there, etc.

I think slowly introducing stuff as when we come up with a use case is probably the best approach, concentrate this cycle on stealth and detection stuff and then move forward with other things as/when we get a good idea.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:57 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
Having refinements for the existing shields (or even just stuff like "immune to molecular clouds") would be fine but the current number range for damage/structure/shield doesn't work with that. Nothing to say we need to keep the current numbers though, you could double every stat in the game for greater long term flexibility if you wanted to without affecting balance (as long as you get all the relevent stats).


Same thing I was thinking, scale up the numbers to allow a greater range.

Maybe we could so some shield refinements instead of increasing their strength (or do both), or as an add on. Use an extra slot for the molecular immunity bit. Maybe even a new slot type that's smaller then the regular slots but for refinements? (ie: giving shields molecular cloud immunity or giving scanners the battle scanning ability).


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:38 am 
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Dyson Forest

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While implementing this, I got another idea, which might solve the problem for other parts.

Is it possible to upgrade ship designs usings FOCS?

As a bad example - the old ships could get a part of the boost (e.g. existing defense grids go from 3 to 4), the old part gets disabled and designs are auto-changed to use the (more expensive) new part.

This could be triggered by researching a deprecation-tech (e.g. 10RP - General Deflector Upgrade), so it doesnt happen automatically.

Actually I think one could implement this without upgrading ship designs (using only a single base part but adjusting the part values). But no fancy new icons in this case :(

Hm maybe people would build a lot of defense grids before researching the upgrade tech. But maybe that is a valid strategy...

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:52 am 
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Ophiuchus wrote:
Is it possible to upgrade ship designs usings FOCS?
For most interpretations of what that means, no.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:18 am 
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Dyson Forest

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Corresponding auto fuel parts upgrade pull request

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