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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 9:45 pm 
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Space Krill

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some proposals concerning starlanes

1) Limit the range of artificial starlanes to prevent connections from one side of the galaxy to the other (this is simply ugly). This helps to maintain the basic shape of the galaxy. I think 40uu could be good to start tuning.

2) Building starlane bores multiple times at the same time in same system means you get them all for the same price - the intended cost increase does not occur. Best solution i think would be to disable any further production (bores and nexus) after adding one to queue til the effect is active (don't suggest to use the production finished for this, as the effect comes a turn later)

3) Think about giving artificial starlanes radiating out a minimum angle to adjcent starlanes so they are visibly different. Something in between 15 to 30 degree should work perfectly. Don't know if this can be done though...

4) Think about giving the player more control over the target location of the just queued starlane. Maybe you could make the target spot selectable like a fleet and then click on the desired target spot. The starlane under construction could be made visible on the galaxy map with fitting graphic. Don't know if this is as important to the majority of players as it is for me. Surely quite a bit of work so maybe i'm going a bit offroad here - like the design philosophy says: keep it simple. But on the other hand... dreaming on

5) Think about removing the nexus. You often end up blocking important starlanes yourself. On the other hand with 1) it may be much less an issue.

6) Deepspace outposts. An outpost ship could establish a starbase-outpost to control deepspace locations. Before one asks whats the point compared to a fleet pls hear me out. The starbase works like a ordinary outpost flagging the spot as occupied and gives you a more "solid" control as the outpost can't be destroyed. It has to be captured by grunts like any other outpost. Additionally you can build starlanes there creating really important deepspace junctions with stratetic value. I think this should not be difficult. Plain and simple outpost with some visible body (starbase) to house it.

7) Personally i would prefer to drop the whole starlane thing (please dont burn me - i know there must be a awfull lot of work in it and my respect for this, really!). But i would prefer the MOO2-way: free travel limited in speed and range depending on tech-level only. But theres surely no way to talk you out of this so let me propose something different. Keep the starlanes but make them transparent and give them a more natural appearance, something worm-like maybe. Goal is to blend them in the galaxy map gently, not dominating it. This is probably something for the very end of development, not vital for the game mechanics. Just wanted make this proposal...

Now i'm curious what you think about it!


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 12:05 am 
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Vacuum Dragon

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I don't like the idea of limiting the builds of starlane bores. Often you have to build a few throwaway ones to get the one you need. Stretching it out just makes them less useful.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 12:32 pm 
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NaIch wrote:
1) Limit the range of artificial starlanes to prevent connections from one side of the galaxy to the other (this is simply ugly). This helps to maintain the basic shape of the galaxy. I think 40uu could be good to start tuning.
There is a max starlane length option in the universe tables for universe generation, which limits the length of the starlanes generated at game start. This value should probably also be used for the Starlane Bore and Nexus.
Quote:
2) Building starlane bores multiple times at the same time in same system means you get them all for the same price - the intended cost increase does not occur. Best solution i think would be to disable any further production (bores and nexus) after adding one to queue til the effect is active (don't suggest to use the production finished for this, as the effect comes a turn later)
I'd rather get rid of the cost increase mechanic.
Quote:
3) Think about giving artificial starlanes radiating out a minimum angle to adjcent starlanes so they are visibly different. Something in between 15 to 30 degree should work perfectly. Don't know if this can be done though...
AFAIK the function which generates the starlanes at game start already does this (requiring a minimum angle between starlanes), so it should be technically possible.
Quote:
4) Think about giving the player more control over the target location of the just queued starlane.
That's already a long term goal, not only for this, but other buildings/elements where the player needs to choose a target system/planet. The Planetary Starlane Drive is another prominent example. The problem is, the GUI doesn't currently provide the means for scripting player input, so content scripters have to resort to awkward workarounds (e.g. stargates are operated by setting special foci on the source and target planets).

That said, the Starlane Bore and Nexus buildings are more a proof of concept, not something we'll keep in that form. We have a couple of buildings like this, which will eventually be replaced by something that works more smoothly (at least).
Quote:
6) Deepspace outposts. An outpost ship could establish a starbase-outpost to control deepspace locations.
Basically a very tiny artificial planet with an outpost. A proof of concept should already be possible to do with FOCS, for a polished version of that feature we'd probably need some minor additions in the backend engine (basically a special planet size below "tiny", a special planet type that's uninhabitable for all species so you can't put full colonies on them, and corresponding graphics).

Interesting idea.
Quote:
7) Personally i would prefer to drop the whole starlane thing (please dont burn me - i know there must be a awfull lot of work in it and my respect for this, really!). But i would prefer the MOO2-way: free travel limited in speed and range depending on tech-level only. But theres surely no way to talk you out of this
Pretty much. Starlanes only/no offroading has been one of the earliest design decisions made back in the ancient days of FO. Judging by the bits and pieces I read here and there on the wiki and old forum threads, this had been subject to a very intense discussion, as apparently many wanted the same as you. See here for more details.

Seems the deciding argument had been that restricting travel between systems to starlanes is far easier for the AI.

That decision has been challenged a lot, AFAICT, but has never been revised in the past 14 years. And as far as I'm concerned, I really think we should stick to it. AI issues aside, this is one of the things that are subject to personal preference - some prefer free travel, others prefer starlanes, others prefer a mix. An open source project that has been running as long as FO sees a lot of team members and contributors coming and going, at this point no one of the original team is left, and AFAIK only three of those who joined in very early (Geoff, TheSilentOne, Krikkitone). If we'd revise fundamental design decisions like this every time the current leaders, or the current majority of the team prefers something different, we'd be constantly rewriting the game and never make any real progress. Don't forget, there are several game mechanics tied into the starlane mechanic (e.g. supply and resource distribution).

So, it's not the we think free travel is a bad idea, or don't like it, or think it doesn't fit with our design philosophy. It's about the AI, and sticking with what has been decided to be able to get things done.
Quote:
Keep the starlanes but make them transparent and give them a more natural appearance, something worm-like maybe. Goal is to blend them in the galaxy map gently, not dominating it.
If I understand correctly, what you propose here is a change to the visual presentation of starlanes, making them less visually prominent on the map. I guess that's certainly worth considering.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 3:54 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
NaIch wrote:
1) Limit the range of artificial starlanes to prevent connections from one side of the galaxy to the other (this is simply ugly). This helps to maintain the basic shape of the galaxy. I think 40uu could be good to start tuning.
There is a max starlane length option in the universe tables for universe generation, which limits the length of the starlanes generated at game start. This value should probably also be used for the Starlane Bore and Nexus.

When Geoff introduced it I capped the Nexus at 250uu, with testing that worked out fine: note one of the uses of the nexus is to sort out problems where entire regions are separated, I believe since it were introduced further work has been done to prevent that from happening as much but it still can. Also the 120uu cap for galaxy generation is for normal lanes, you can still get longer than that if a star isn't otherwise linked, while I see it less these days it does still happen.

IIRC the Bore doesn't have a max cap because I didn't feel it needed it: it always goes for the next closest system.
Quote:
2) Building starlane bores multiple times at the same time in same system means you get them all for the same price - the intended cost increase does not occur. Best solution i think would be to disable any further production (bores and nexus) after adding one to queue til the effect is active (don't suggest to use the production finished for this, as the effect comes a turn later)
I'd rather get rid of the cost increase mechanic.[/quote]
Actually, while I agree normally I dislike cost increase mechanics, the Bore is costed to take into account existing linking starlanes, the more a system has the more it costs, while I definitely want to rework both at some point that costing is a good ballpark and I'd rather keep that and stop them being stacked up instead (it's another holdover from the switch to fractional production, I rarely use them and forgot to test them with the new mechanic, before if one completed the next wouldn't and the cost and time would increase again).
Quote:
Quote:
6) Deepspace outposts. An outpost ship could establish a starbase-outpost to control deepspace locations.
Basically a very tiny artificial planet with an outpost. A proof of concept should already be possible to do with FOCS, for a polished version of that feature we'd probably need some minor additions in the backend engine (basically a special planet size below "tiny", a special planet type that's uninhabitable for all species so you can't put full colonies on them, and corresponding graphics).

Interesting idea.

Agreed, and while it'd involve a lot of effects it'd be fairly straightforward to script: use a Tiny Barren planet with a special that prevents population would be a good workaround, probably need to reduce Supply down a bit as well.
Quote:
Quote:
7) Personally i would prefer to drop the whole starlane thing (please dont burn me - i know there must be a awfull lot of work in it and my respect for this, really!). But i would prefer the MOO2-way: free travel limited in speed and range depending on tech-level only. But theres surely no way to talk you out of this
Pretty much. Starlanes only/no offroading has been one of the earliest design decisions made back in the ancient days of FO. Judging by the bits and pieces I read here and there on the wiki and old forum threads, this had been subject to a very intense discussion, as apparently many wanted the same as you. See here for more details.

Seems the deciding argument had been that restricting travel between systems to starlanes is far easier for the AI.


I have a different reason. I love starlanes and they make the game better for me, both as a tactical game and as a headcannon thing: I keep meaning to write up a sort of intro story, they're not a convenient fudge to allow FTL, they're perfectly acceptable within currently understood physics and make the background actually possible (the things you learn from Googling after watching Marvel movies).

The Precursors built a wormhole network that's a bit creaky in places. Lots of new races discover it at the same time and that's the start of the game.

Regardless of the AI benefits (and I neither understand them nor particularly care), I dislike games that allow interstellar offroading for species of our(ish) tech level, wormholes are fine, FTL drives not so much.

(Plug: Newton's Wake by Ken Macleod is one of my favourite books to use wormholes in a similar way, it's not his best book but it is a damn good one)

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Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 4:13 pm 
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Space Dragon
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Vezzra wrote:
Basically a very tiny artificial planet with an outpost.
It should be considered:
- whether it would be allowed or not to do the same kind of outposting in star systems with free planet slots (i.e. effectively adding new "planets" to systems that already have some, until some maximum threshold I guess already exists),
- whether that kind of outpost should be armed as rest of planets or not,
- whether they would lengthen the supply lines,
- and whether they could have drydocks (either constructed on them after outposting or built-in).

I would say yes to the four of them. Thus players could use them to improve system defenses (nothing that really matters against doomstacks if not supported with your own fleet), to lengthen supply line into enemy territory, to connect supply lines between parts of your empire if it happen to be a too long deepspace chain between them, and to set forward military bases even in the very enemy systems prior to any invasion.

I imagine such outposts like huge space bases with energy (fusion? whatever) generators to be able to function in empty space (yet still depend on supply lines*), with artificial gardens for food growth, recyclers of all sorts, etc.

Regarding mechanics, it may be represented as a new kind of planet but also through ships:
"Star base outposter" or sth like that, not cheap at all; upon completion it could travel like outpost ships (I'd give it less than 60 speed) and when stationary in a system it would allow the activation of its setting as "(stationary) star base", that would change speed to 0 and damage and defense to whatever it is decided star bases could have. I guess (at least) making that ship to provide/lengthen the supply chain would need backend changes. But then it would be destructible contrarily to original NaIch idea.
If based on a new kind of planet, I'd make its infrastructure and happiness go down to zero gradually and add a mechanic to suspend its supply provision to allied ships until supply chain is restored. Thus, assuming it counts as/have a drydock, reparations can't be performed unless connected to supply line.

Anyway, the whole idea seems a bit unnecessary, since some ships already in the game could fulfil the role of the original idea, except for being destructible. Although, if such ship is destroyed we can expect an outpost on the same situation to be conquered, which is worse from you than losing a ship: you give it to your enemy.


MatGB wrote:
wormholes are fine, FTL drives not so much
I'd say this is not about realism. There are theoretical explanations for the possibility about both of them (space bending for FTLs, and "I saw a nanoparticle travel through a few meters without actually moving, why not a whole ship?)". But they both are seen as impossible from current corroborated physics, so we better don't say what's fine and what's not regarding science fiction, it all is fiction.
Nevertheless, my own excuse to allow peace between starlanes and my rational brain is expect the gravitational fields of stars to disrupt FTL travel close to them effectively forcing a pause in the FTL trip.


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 5:17 pm 
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Space Krill

Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 7:58 pm
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Vezzra:
Quote:
There is a max starlane length option in the universe tables for universe generation, which limits the length of the starlanes generated at game start. This value should probably also be used for the Starlane Bore and Nexus.

Found that one. Thought it won't affect the artificial lanes...

MatGB:
Quote:
one of the uses of the nexus is to sort out problems where entire regions are separated

Did not know that. For this you will surely need long star lanes. Maybe give an option in the universe tables Vezzra mentioned?

concerning starlane multiple construction - MatGB:
Quote:
before if one completed the next wouldn't and the cost and time would increase again

Would be even better your way. You could stack up all bores you want without feeling like cheating.

Vezzra:
Quote:
AFAIK the function which generates the starlanes at game start already does this (requiring a minimum angle between starlanes), so it should be technically possible.

MatGB:
Quote:
one of the uses of the nexus is to sort out problems where entire regions are separated

So we have to be careful with minimum angles between (artificial) starlanes...

Vezzra:
Quote:
So, it's not the we think free travel is a bad idea, or don't like it, or think it doesn't fit with our design philosophy. It's about the AI, and sticking with what has been decided to be able to get things done.

You did'nt have to explain that (is that correct? english grammar... however no insult intended) - but thanks. And i did'nt want to challenge your decision. Was merely a "must say" from my side to have peace with my old moo roots. So ignore that ;)

MatGB:
Quote:
I love starlanes and they make the game better for me, both as a tactical game and as a headcannon thing

With that you are right. You have choking points at the borders of your empire and your inner systems cannot be reached without going through them.

Vezzra:
Quote:
If I understand correctly, what you propose here is a change to the visual presentation of starlanes, making them less visually prominent on the map

Exactly! You need to see easily where you can go but the eye-candy comes from stars, planets, effects and of course your ships. But graphics are surely something that comes after the mechanics.


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 6:29 pm 
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Space Krill

Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 7:58 pm
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Oberlus:
Quote:
Anyway, the whole idea seems a bit unnecessary, since some ships already in the game could fulfil the role of the original idea, except for being destructible. Although, if such ship is destroyed we can expect an outpost on the same situation to be conquered, which is worse from you than losing a ship: you give it to your enemy.

Thought about that quite some time before i originaly posted that idea. Did'nt tell all my thougts so far.

1) Planets / Outposts have higher priority than ships (if not hostile) concerning supply routes and spot ownership. A friendly ship in one of your (exclusively poulated/outposted) systems does nothing. In an unclaimed spot (same supply range, sensor strength whatever) fleet strength or ship numbers seem to determine ownership. Dont know exact dependancies but this are my first impressions.

2) Those Outposts can build starlane bores and make the perfect junctions you sometimes think "if i only had this connection from... to..." This and because i don't see much of a reason to have those empty deepspace spots otherwise ist the main reason i proposed the deepspace outposts.

3) You can build those ship repellers (*starts FO and looks how they are named...*) - spatial distortion generators there. Those and scanners are probably a must have there to claim that part of space.

4) Ships are destroyed in just one turn. A starbase has to be besieged before defenses are down and ready to be captured by troops. This gives you some response time. It's the same i have in mind for planets. No more defense down in the same turn a fleet first attacked successfully. Depending on the strength of the defenses the siege has to last several turns even with huge fleets to finaly be able to invade. This would add perfectly to the tactical advantage of starlanes MatGB pointed out. Side effect: makes planetary bombardments worth thinking about because its maybe faster. But thats another matter.

5) Ships get obsolete by outdated tech. So you have to replace them continually. Starbases as planets / outposts stay up to date automatically. They should be expensive initially but then you could forget them (except for sending relief fleets or recapture them) and just benefit from them.

6) Those remote outposts would be the perfect spot for buildings you rather dont want on your densely populated systems (bioterror projection things, artificial blackholes, gateways to the void, blackhole collapsers...) One could think about make them buildable only there.

Oberlus:
Quote:
add a mechanic to suspend its supply provision to allied ships until supply chain is restored

Great idea! No own supply generation but a supply deposit.

Vezzra:
Quote:
a special planet type that's uninhabitable for all species so you can't put full colonies on them, and corresponding graphics

Was exactly my thought too. Don't want it to be too complicated. Like Oberlus pointed out its only worth adding if to be realised with reasonable effort.


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