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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:57 pm 
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Space Floater

Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:47 pm
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Hi Everyone,

I just started playing this game about a week ago, and it's a lot of fun, even as is. Nice work!

I noticed that there are also test builds, which seem to be released weekly. My question is, is there any sort of changelog for those test builds, to have an idea what's changed in them, or would I need to sort through GitHub to figure that out?

I really like what you guys seem to be going for with this game, and I'm excited to see what else is in store.

As for the promised random suggestion, I noticed about a third of my playtime seems to be spent staring at the research window, trying to figure out what on earth I should be researching. It would be nice if there was a button to give you a 'recommended' item to research, which basically just used whatever the AI uses to pick its research goals. It doesn't have to make perfect choices, just something to help the overwhelmed new player pick moderately sane research paths.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:27 pm 
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Psionic Snowflake

Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:15 pm
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I asked this a while back:

http://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4208&start=300#p80863

The basic answer is that you have to go through the github commit log and interpret the messages there. Link in the replies to my message. Many of these will be technical in nature and not affect game-play.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:16 pm 
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Psionic Snowflake

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For your suggestion, I think that research is at least somewhat situational and tailored to the player's style but the basics are covered well in this thread:

http://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=9316

After some games, you won't spend near as much time as it will become pretty automatic.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:40 pm 
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Space Floater

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I understand that as one plays the game, it gets a lot faster to choose what to research. However, there are times when it would be nice to be able to just let the computer pick a tech for me, especially late game when I'm steamrolling anyway. Aside from that, I am sure it would help new players get into the game a lot faster if they could just have the computer pick a tech for them.

The reason I don't expect this would be a lot of effort is that the computer already has to pick techs for itself. So it would seem that exact code could get called when a player presses this 'Recommended Tech' button, and just have the computer pick the first thing it would research that the player isn't already researching. If the player presses it again, he gets the next item on the computer's pick list added to his queue.

I do appreciate the links to those other threads. The one on early tech paths was very helpful.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:20 pm 
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Psionic Snowflake

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I wouldn't think late game would be that helpful, really. Plus, the farther in you get the more individual style matters. Like, do you go for heavy asteroid hulls? I typically don't, but others do. Do you want stargates?

Really once I have Titanic hulls and good engines, along with full Intelligence, I kind of just click on a few of the long range things and let research do its thing. The AIs are often researching things that I don't think are important.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 1:46 am 
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Damiac wrote:
The reason I don't expect this would be a lot of effort is that the computer already has to pick techs for itself. So it would seem that exact code could get called when a player presses this 'Recommended Tech' button, and just have the computer pick the first thing it would research that the player isn't already researching. If the player presses it again, he gets the next item on the computer's pick list added to his queue.
Actually, it's more complex than that.

If you look at your computers Task Manager/System Monitor/whatever while playing, you'll see lots of processes called freeorionca. Each of them is a separate AI 'client' that interprets the Python scripts put in to make the AIs work. Basically, each one is a separate client that as far as the server is concerned is of equal importance to you the human player using hte human client. So the server that you're talking to doesn't pick any techs, it's a separate process on your machine making the picks for each AI. Beyond that the details are above my head, we have implemented, recently, the barebones of a 'tutorial' system that can help and give advice, the idea of some tech prompts isn't a bad one however, the ultimate plan is to make the tech tree balanced enough that players can make lots of choices at any stage and have that affect their development in different ways, with no one optimal approach (which there basically is now although we've reduced it a bit recently).

So having recommended techs, even for a beginner, would go against that a bit. Having said that, I still have in my mind the idea of a separate toggle for all techs, with a simple/complex display option to remove the techs that a new(ish) player isn't going to need as much to make the obvious choices more obvious and less cluttered. That's not got general agreement yet but I think it would help.

Regarding the changes for the test builds, I've been toying with the idea of starting a thread that mentions new features and solicits feedback for them that could make it easier to keep up with, we've tried various approaches in the past and they all fall over a bit, but the current system means even established players miss new stuff sometimes (eg: Geoff recently redid completely the way the galaxy gas field background graphics were done, as I intensely disliked the old system I always played with them turned off, only remembered to try the new system yesterday, and it's a vast, vast improvement).

Do we think, between us, if we started such a thread we could keep it up to date as a group? I strongly suspect if just one person were to try to do it it would fall over quickly.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:13 am 
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Release Manager, Design
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Damiac wrote:
The reason I don't expect this would be a lot of effort is that the computer already has to pick techs for itself. So it would seem that exact code could get called when a player presses this 'Recommended Tech' button
To expand a bit on Mats reply, the problem is that the code you're referring to (which the AI uses to pick the techs) is actually Python scripts (you can find them in the default/AI folder). To be able to execute those scripts, the AI client has a built-in Python interface. The human client, which is a different program, does not. So, in order to do what you suggest, we'd need to add the entire Python interface to the human client too, which is a bit more complicated than just adding a button and a call to the "select tech" code.

Don't get me wrong, of course that can be done, and won't exactly require a titanic effort, but it's not as simple and easy as you think it is. ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:44 pm 
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Space Floater

Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:47 pm
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Ah, I see what you're saying. Well, if it would require a non-trivial amount of work, it's certainly not worth doing at this stage of development. Obviously it's something you'd want in version 1.0, but that's clearly a long way away, and it seems you plan to totally redo the way the AI picks techs anyway.

Just to clarify what I was thinking, it would be along the same lines as in the Civilization games. Every time you need to pick a tech, there would be some recommendation. The recommendation wasn't based on your current situation as far as I could tell, but just the fact that the game suggested something seemed to make the decision making process easier, even if the suggestion was suboptimal.

Thanks for taking the time to explain it. I work as a controls engineer, primarily writing software for industrial control systems, so I totally get that things that look easy to implement to an outsider might not be as easy as they seem!


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