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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:07 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
To be specific: I was cautious to the point of negativity/opposition to the very idea of Influence as another focus based meter until I got my head around/understood that it would replace the existing (awful) upkeep mechanics, especially fleet upkeep mechanics.
To be clear, are you assuming that that will be the only function of influence, or is it implicit here that there will be other stuff to spend influence on, like actual influencing of populations?
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If Upkeep isn't to be replaced by Influence then it needs to be replaced by some other mechanic, and as a matter of urgency, if we weren't planning Influence I'd have done something else already based on parts in ship design or similar as the current mechanic is awful and has to die.
I strongly encourage you to do try implementing any ideas you have for making upkeep costs work without influence. Regardless of the specific problems, it could / will be rather nice to have two options for how to balance more vs. less ship strength in an empire. One thing I'd like to be able to do is have a player choose between two such methods, as part of configuring how the government or empire is structured, however that is implemented (perhaps switching between governments or civics or policy cards or similar). So even if influence is implemented wonderfully, there could still be cases / strategies where using the upkeep mechanics would be a preferred choice. (And even if you do implement something better, the current mechanism could also be available as an option for players, without requiring you to ever deal with it yourself in-game.)
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Because of the current mechanism, we need big bonuses to production in order to build ships and create colonies, this makes balancing the costs of either of them harder as well.
This strikes me as a rather odd comment... the point of the upkeep / increasing costs when an empire has a lot of ships is to make it harder to produce lots of ships. How is that a problem?
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In addition, the way upkeep can disrupt production orders with fleets finishing before or after their estimated time is REALLY bad and counter intuitive (and I have done the "scrap 100 comsats to half the build time of a titan fleet" a few times, any system that encourages/allows for that behaviour is a bad system regardless of other factors).
Probably the solution to that issue is to make it less useful to produce comsats... Fighters would presumably help with that?
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What I do care is I've put off balancing hulls for the upkeep system to be better for far too long and the current system has to die.
As above, if you have ideas ready to implement, please do, if they can make "increasing costs to produce ships when an empire has more fleet strength" a less objectionable, to you, game mechanic. While I do like having the costs increase, it doesn't need to be per ship. The main reason it has been is that having lots of ships causes / caused huge increases in effects processing time, but with various optimizations to how the scripting is organized, that should be less of an issue now.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:01 pm 
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There's a lot of ideas here that sound fun (keeping track of the relationships between colonies and empires, diverse influence mission like smuggling, multilateral winning strategies and more), and some that I'm dubious about, like the double (influence) colony ownership.

But I think the main aspect brought up is, do we want to use influence as a method to slow exponential expansion, and how, or not? I can imagine a scripted production upkeep per hull working to slow fleet construction, but this does not put an end to excessive colonisation. How would we take care of that?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:03 pm 
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The Silent One wrote:
There's a lot of ideas here that sound fun (keeping track of the relationships between colonies and empires, diverse influence mission like smuggling, multilateral winning strategies and more), and some that I'm dubious about, like the double (influence) colony ownership.

But I think the main aspect brought up is, do we want to use influence as a method to slow exponential expansion, and how, or not? I can imagine a scripted production upkeep per hull working to slow fleet construction, but this does not put an end to excessive colonisation. How would we take care of that?


I think that unless the more extreme version (double colony ownership) is used, influence should be a key part of restricting expansion with a non linear maintenance effect for colonies/systems. (quadratic...ie each colony has a maintenance cost proportional to number of other colonies..seems the simplest.)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:10 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
MatGB wrote:
To be specific: I was cautious to the point of negativity/opposition to the very idea of Influence as another focus based meter until I got my head around/understood that it would replace the existing (awful) upkeep mechanics, especially fleet upkeep mechanics.
To be clear, are you assuming that that will be the only function of influence, or is it implicit here that there will be other stuff to spend influence on, like actual influencing of populations?

Implicit, there would be no point if it was just an upkeep replacement.
Quote:
Quote:
If Upkeep isn't to be replaced by Influence then it needs to be replaced by some other mechanic, and as a matter of urgency, if we weren't planning Influence I'd have done something else already based on parts in ship design or similar as the current mechanic is awful and has to die.
I strongly encourage you to do try implementing any ideas you have for making upkeep costs work without influence. Regardless of the specific problems, it could / will be rather nice to have two options for how to balance more vs. less ship strength in an empire. One thing I'd like to be able to do is have a player choose between two such methods, as part of configuring how the government or empire is structured, however that is implemented (perhaps switching between governments or civics or policy cards or similar). So even if influence is implemented wonderfully, there could still be cases / strategies where using the upkeep mechanics would be a preferred choice. (And even if you do implement something better, the current mechanism could also be available as an option for players, without requiring you to ever deal with it yourself in-game.)
This…

Has some potential. Of course, that'd be a much more longer term goal but it's something we can start brainstorming, perhaps Influence projects would be involved in changing government type and there would be disruptions, unhappiness, etc that you'd need to ameliorate.
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Because of the current mechanism, we need big bonuses to production in order to build ships and create colonies, this makes balancing the costs of either of them harder as well.
This strikes me as a rather odd comment... the point of the upkeep / increasing costs when an empire has a lot of ships is to make it harder to produce lots of ships. How is that a problem?
Point, and a good one, but we've had excessive production for long before I got involved so I'm used to it.

Because the in game balance of a ship once built isn't affected by upkeep nor does it affect you much it means an empire with a small number of high value ships can produce more high value ships at lower cost: this is made worse by the tendency of the AI to build excessive troop ships, troop drops, etc and rarely scrapping things.

Having variable production costs makes getting the balance between hulls harder, and having everything spiral upwards in cost makes it necessary to constantly expand your production: if you can do that more optimally than an opponent you win, it makes it much more of a numbers game.
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In addition, the way upkeep can disrupt production orders with fleets finishing before or after their estimated time is REALLY bad and counter intuitive (and I have done the "scrap 100 comsats to half the build time of a titan fleet" a few times, any system that encourages/allows for that behaviour is a bad system regardless of other factors).
Probably the solution to that issue is to make it less useful to produce comsats... Fighters would presumably help with that?
No.

Because the point of the "build lots of things then scrap them" approach isn't to actually have them have any use at all in game other than to manipulate upkeep. You can still do it with troop ships and similar, once your production is high enough then juggling ships so you scrap/land a large fleet to speed up the build time of your, for example, new Flagship fleet.

I can very easily use the current mechanic to deliberately double the production cost of a large group of very powerful hulls (eg Scattered Asteroid or Titanic) and then, once they're nearly "half" built scrap enough ships to have them complete in ~4 turns instead of 8+. Production time is meant to be part of the balance of various things, being able to massively disrupt it if you know what you're doing isn't optimal.

It doesn't matter if it's comsats, troop ships or simply empty small hulls, it matters that you can build a large number of cheap things then scrap them for an advantage hat shouldn't be there.
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What I do care is I've put off balancing hulls for the upkeep system to be better for far too long and the current system has to die.
As above, if you have ideas ready to implement, please do, if they can make "increasing costs to produce ships when an empire has more fleet strength" a less objectionable, to you, game mechanic. While I do like having the costs increase, it doesn't need to be per ship. The main reason it has been is that having lots of ships causes / caused huge increases in effects processing time, but with various optimizations to how the scripting is organized, that should be less of an issue now.
[/quote]Yup, and things have got even better last few weeks with the backend changes LGM Doyle and you have been working through.

We had been discussing an upkeep cost per part and similar other things: the current system I object to for two different reasons: the above manipulation/micromanagement is one, the other is that it encourages blunt force large fleets and not mixed types, we have so many cool hulltypes available, but some are simply never going to be used heavily if at all, that's especially true in the Asteroid and Organic lines, both are scripted to benefit mixed fleet types in many ways, but the upkeep mechanic says "all warships are heavy asteroid/scattered because upkeep", that's not cool.

I shall start a different thread later on different ideas for upkeep mechanics that can be as well as/instead of Influence, but the basic plan of putting it into Influence as The Silent One has coded up is a good one for now.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:36 am 
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MatGB wrote:
I can very easily use the current mechanic to deliberately double the production cost of a large group of very powerful hulls (eg Scattered Asteroid or Titanic) and then, once they're nearly "half" built scrap enough ships to have them complete in ~4 turns instead of 8+. Production time is meant to be part of the balance of various things, being able to massively disrupt it if you know what you're doing isn't optimal.
Assuming I understand what you mean, perhaps the progress on production items should be tracked as a percentage of completion rather than total PP spent? That way, if an item is half complete when it costs 200% nominal, then the upkeep changes so the cost drops to 100% nominal, it will still be just half done, not suddenly 100% done. That's not intended, and should be an issue on the tracker if it's not already.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:43 am 
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MatGB wrote:
I can very easily use the current mechanic to deliberately double the production cost of a large group of very powerful hulls (eg Scattered Asteroid or Titanic) and then, once they're nearly "half" built scrap enough ships to have them complete in ~4 turns instead of 8+. Production time is meant to be part of the balance of various things, being able to massively disrupt it if you know what you're doing isn't optimal.

Are you talking about delaying production by purpose? I also do micromanagement sometimes, but i put production simply on hold for that item. I do this either for timing purposes or preproducing comsats and hoping that they do not count for upkeep.
Probably items in the production queue should be counted for upkeep (maybe count already?).

But maybe you meant what Geoff wrote..
Geoff the Medio wrote:
MatGB wrote:
...
Assuming I understand what you mean, perhaps the progress on production items should be tracked as a percentage of completion rather than total PP spent? That way, if an item is half complete when it costs 200% nominal, then the upkeep changes so the cost drops to 100% nominal, it will still be just half done, not suddenly 100% done. That's not intended, and should be an issue on the tracker if it's not already.

The way it is done now also sucks as you often suddenly need an extra turn for production because upkeep changed the necessary PP. I think the desired behavior would be that the originally projected turn for production can be made regardless of changes in upkeep (if the necessary PP are there).
So maybe one could also calculate the relative change of upkeep between turns for extra-PP to be spend. So if upkeep went up 10% last turn, you can spend this turn 10% more on each item which was already in the queue.

On another note, maybe upkeep should actually increase both production time and cost.
That would give another way to differentiate having a few big ships vs having a lot of small ships.
I think this is off-topic though :/
Waiting for your new upkeep cost thread :)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:32 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
MatGB wrote:
I can very easily use the current mechanic to deliberately double the production cost of a large group of very powerful hulls (eg Scattered Asteroid or Titanic) and then, once they're nearly "half" built scrap enough ships to have them complete in ~4 turns instead of 8+. Production time is meant to be part of the balance of various things, being able to massively disrupt it if you know what you're doing isn't optimal.
Assuming I understand what you mean, perhaps the progress on production items should be tracked as a percentage of completion rather than total PP spent? That way, if an item is half complete when it costs 200% nominal, then the upkeep changes so the cost drops to 100% nominal, it will still be just half done, not suddenly 100% done. That's not intended, and should be an issue on the tracker if it's not already.
Actually, that's not a bad idea at all if it can be implemented, we've currently got Dilvish's frontloading fudge but that just solves part of the problem.

So basically each turn the PP cost is calculated for a single turns production and added, and the system counts turns complete not PP applied, so upkeep would never affect time for ships or colonies? That would solve one of my two objections immediately.

@Ophiuchus,
Quote:
The way it is done now also sucks as you often suddenly need an extra turn for production because upkeep changed the necessary PP.
A year or so back a 'frontloading' element was added into production so you put more in per turn to reduce this affect, I was sure it was customisable so you could increase the effect if it bothered you more but I can't find it in customisations or config, anyone remember? IIRC it was Dilvish's work.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:13 pm 
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Production queue factors are not moved yet: default/global_settings.txt


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:29 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
So basically each turn the PP cost is calculated for a single turns production and added, and the system counts turns complete not PP applied, so upkeep would never affect time for ships or colonies? That would solve one of my two objections immediately.
Should it count turns complete or percentage complete? There is a difference, since the minimum production / research time of stuff can change part way through production / research... If it stores turns complete then if the minimum production time drops it could instantly finish still...


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 2:14 pm 
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I think percentage complete, a colony should always cost roughly the same in PP even if it's able to draw colonists from closer half way through, having it complete quickly while only half way through would be an equally abusive trick (although harder to pull off).

Each turn you do a fraction of total cost, keep track of fraction completed then when costs change you've made the same progress but if turns change you've still only made X %age progress, which I think is the least abusable and easiest to explain.

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