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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:50 am 
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Kassiopeija wrote:
These are some nice new mechanisms which should be able to add new depth to the game, but frankly, I can't help but notice that the name "influence" is grossly misleading. Perhaps you've abstracted a little bit too much.

For example, these "influence costs" of buildings or planets etc is really a machanism better described by "Upkeep" or "Maintenance" or "Energy".
Just that you don't seem to like the idea of money (because it may not exist in the future which I find quite naive to think... esp. since money is nothing but a substitute in itself... because what you can't do away with is that if Person A does something for Person B said Person A will ask for a compensation - and ultimately it's irrelevant what that compensation is, as long as it's something understandable and not "5 influence".

I also wonder if these mechanisms are able to do something contra the mentioned expansion-dilemma; ie. at a certain point you're just runaway unstoppably from the AI.

What this game needs is a stat like "Corruption" that grows exponentially with the current strength of an empire (ie. strong empires are more affected by corruption that smaller one). This Corruption could then be used to penalize the currently perceived "winner" by throttling down several aspects of the game, ie. less production, less research would be the obvious. More interesting would be if "events" could be introduced, and these could be all sorts of things, like gain/loose some ships, native planet joins/rebels, building gets destroyed, starlane added/killed, with corruption increasing the chance that negative events are triggered.



As mentioned, "upkeep/maintenance/energy" are terribly misleading. My car needs upkeep and maintenance, my computer need energy. Influence is what keeps me obeying the laws handed down from Washington and not attempting to follow the laws handed down from Mexico city.

That is largely not money (although many aspects of it work through money)


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:10 pm 
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I'm currently implementing the basics of influence, development can be followed here:
https://github.com/TheSilentOne1/freeor ... uence-test

So far implemented:
  • can set planets to influence focus
  • imperial palace creates (arbitrarily) 40 IP
  • influence resource indicator at top of map wnd; shows total generated and available influence
  • tooltip of influence indicator: shows what influence is spent on (colonies, systems, ships)
  • fleet wnd shows influence upkeep cost of ships&fleets
  • colony upkeep = number of colonies * 4
  • translinguistics tech reduces muliplier to 3, mind of the void to 2, unified consciousness to 1
  • system upkeep = (number of systems)² (techs to reduce system upkeep will follow)
  • ship upkeep by hull-type, currently upkeep = 1* (number of internal slots + external slots) + 4* core slots
  • so far no penalty for exceeding influence limits
  • so far no upkeep for buildings (do we want it?) or distance

Next I plan to introduce more / adjust techs and specials that modify influence, and experiment with penalties if there is negative influence. Comments/suggestions/help welcome.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:33 pm 
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The Silent One wrote:
I'm currently implementing the basics of influence, development can be followed here:
https://github.com/TheSilentOne1/freeor ... uence-test

So far implemented:
  • can set planets to influence focus
  • imperial palace creates (arbitrarily) 40 IP
    (...)
  • colony upkeep = number of colonies * 4
  • translinguistics tech reduces muliplier to 3, mind of the void to 2, unified consciousness to 1
  • system upkeep = (number of systems)² (techs to reduce system upkeep will follow)
  • ship upkeep by hull-type, currently upkeep = 1* (number of internal slots + external slots) + 4* core slots
  • so far no penalty for exceeding influence limits
  • so far no upkeep for buildings (do we want it?) or distance


Very nice, indeed!

How do those values translate into FOCS? If we'd want to create more techs to deal with, eg., colony upkeep would that be possible? Can the multipliers be more granular (Like .5, 1, 1.5, etc)?

The Silent One wrote:
ship upkeep by hull-type, currently upkeep = 1* (number of internal slots + external slots) + 4* core slots


I don't get it. How is this cost calculated? Is it per ship design - which would be cumbersome to manage, as a player, because it would make me to want to delete all premade/obsolete designs - abbnd would be way too cheap, in the end, having only half-a-dozen designs around. Or is it per actual ship built - which would be very, very expensive to maintain ships, as even the very basic ships, say a premade destroyer, would be in average more expensive than a colony.

Maybe an ideal influence cost for ships would be per actual parts in actual built ships? Eg., a mass driver would cost .01 influence, a laser .03, a engine coupling .015 (made up numbers). I think this scheme, plus possibly an escalating value per number of ships (much like the current PP "upkeep") would give better strategical choices than a flat large number for slots in hull.

The Silent One wrote:
Next I plan to introduce more / adjust techs and specials that modify influence, and experiment with penalties if there is negative influence. Comments/suggestions/help welcome.


Seems very good so far.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:01 pm 
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The Silent One wrote:
[*] ship upkeep by hull-type, currently upkeep = 1* (number of internal slots + external slots) + 4* core slots

Slots, or parts used? We've been talking about switching to the latter on and off, but I'm opposed to the former, there should be a disadvantage to always filling every slot by default.

And does this replace the multiplier of ship cost we currently have in place?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:11 pm 
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Cpeosphoros wrote:
How do those values translate into FOCS? If we'd want to create more techs to deal with, eg., colony upkeep would that be possible? Can the multipliers be more granular (Like .5, 1, 1.5, etc)?
Sure, the multipliers can be made more granular; though currently the techs that reduce colony upkeep are handled in the c++-code, which is undoubtedly impractical and an interim solution until I have time to figure out how to move it into FOCS / properly implement it.

Cpeosphoros wrote:
Or is it per actual ship built - which would be very, very expensive to maintain ships, as even the very basic ships, say a premade destroyer, would be in average more expensive than a colony.
This. It's only a first draft, and from my first games I agree, ships would be very expensive if we kept these numbers. Which we probably won't ;) . - There might be techs (like fleet logistics) that gradually reduce the costs.

Cpeosphoros wrote:
Maybe an ideal influence cost for ships would be per actual parts in actual built ships? Eg., a mass driver would cost .01 influence, a laser .03, a engine coupling .015 (made up numbers).
I'm not so fond of this approach; I think having one standard value per hull is so much less complicated, and with this it would also be possible to take the hull stats into account, which will not be represented if we just add up the cost for the individual parts of the design. But your suggestion would be readily doable.

MattGB wrote:
Slots, or parts used? We've been talking about switching to the latter on and off, but I'm opposed to the former, there should be a disadvantage to always filling every slot by default.
As of now, each hull has a fixed influence cost that is defined in ship_hulls.txt. I calculated the preliminary cost using the simple formula above.

MattGB wrote:
And does this replace the multiplier of ship cost we currently have in place?
That's the plan!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:23 pm 
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The Silent One wrote:
MatGB wrote:
Slots, or parts used? We've been talking about switching to the latter on and off, but I'm opposed to the former, there should be a disadvantage to always filling every slot by default.
As of now, each hull has a fixed influence cost that is defined in ship_hulls.txt. I calculated the preliminary cost using the simple formula above.

MatGB wrote:
And does this replace the multiplier of ship cost we currently have in place?
That's the plan!

OK, cool, well, I don't like that it's slots not parts used, there is a FOCS command to count parts used but I never got around to testing it after Geoff coded it, something like PartsInShipDesign? If it can't be done, then so be it, and I can always go in and tweak the numbers for balance later, but it would be far better to count parts used if at all possible.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:28 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
..., but it would be far better to count parts used if at all possible.
If that's what the majority wants to have, I can live with it. The implementation shouldn't be too much of a problem.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:44 pm 
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The Silent One wrote:
MatGB wrote:
..., but it would be far better to count parts used if at all possible.
If that's what the majority wants to have, I can live with it. The implementation shouldn't be too much of a problem.


My proposal is yet more radical: giving each individual part a specific cost (which would be defined in the ship part specification).

That way, a death ray would cost way more influence than a simple mass driver. I think it would give more strategical depth to ship designing - not only choosing not always to fill each available slot, but also not always to use the latest tech, and would make rushing for late ship techs less attractive, therefore slowing down expansion in another dimension.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:55 am 
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Cpeosphoros wrote:
The Silent One wrote:
MatGB wrote:
..., but it would be far better to count parts used if at all possible.
If that's what the majority wants to have, I can live with it. The implementation shouldn't be too much of a problem.
My proposal is yet more radical: giving each individual part a specific cost (which would be defined in the ship part specification).
I think that is what Matt meant as well? (Or do you mean something along used parts * fixed_slot_cost, Matt?)

Cpeosphoros wrote:
That way, a death ray would cost way more influence than a simple mass driver. I think it would give more strategical depth to ship designing - not only choosing not always to fill each available slot, but also not always to use the latest tech, and would make rushing for late ship techs less attractive, therefore slowing down expansion in another dimension.
I wouldn't want to punish using the best tech available. Maybe mass driver/beam weapon tier 1 should in general have a high influence cost, reducing with every refinement.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:33 pm 
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The Silent One wrote:
Cpeosphoros wrote:
My proposal is yet more radical: giving each individual part a specific cost (which would be defined in the ship part specification).
I think that is what Matt meant as well? (Or do you mean something along used parts * fixed_slot_cost, Matt?)


I read Matt proposal as a flat cost per "used slots", not a variable cost per part. Both approaches have their merits. It's a matter of choosing what strategical choices we want to give the player.

The Silent One wrote:
Cpeosphoros wrote:
That way, a death ray would cost way more influence than a simple mass driver. I think it would give more strategical depth to ship designing - not only choosing not always to fill each available slot, but also not always to use the latest tech, and would make rushing for late ship techs less attractive, therefore slowing down expansion in another dimension.
I wouldn't want to punish using the best tech available. Maybe mass driver/beam weapon tier 1 should in general have a high influence cost, reducing with every refinement.


Again, it's a matter of choice. I like the idea of refinements reducing the influence cost, but I still think the influence cost should go up for each tech tier you use in ship improvements - not only weapons, but also shields, scanners, drivers, fuel tanks, etc. You can see that as an abstraction of the R&D and repairing facilities, production, whatever, you would have to keep in place to maintain the more advanced techs.

I'm working here under the assumption that the goal of this entire new mechanics is to slow down expansion (as the title of this topic says). Giving a flat cost for higher tech parts, in comparison to lower ones, will not accomplish that goal. There would still be an incentive for rushing into the late techs and spamming cheap cruisers with the last available tech.

If you give higher techs a higher cost (maybe a 1,2,3,4 progression between mass, laser, plasma and death - reduced accordingly by refinements - and the same for shields, drivers, etc), I think that would slow expansion, as the player would be required to build/research things in order to up the influence cap and be able to field ships with the higher techs.

Another, non-concurrent, approach would be requiring special dock/shipyard facilities for producing ships with those techs (same way it's done with some hull lines), and giving those facilities an influence and/or infrastructure cost.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:13 pm 
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Cpeosphoros wrote:
[...], but I still think the influence cost should go up for each tech tier you use in ship improvements - not only weapons, but also shields, scanners, drivers, fuel tanks, etc. [...] I'm working here under the assumption that the goal of this entire new mechanics is to slow down expansion (as the title of this topic says). Giving a flat cost for higher tech parts, in comparison to lower ones, will not accomplish that goal. There would still be an incentive for rushing into the late techs and spamming cheap cruisers with the last available tech.
I see your point, we should just try it out. I'll wait for a couple of days before implementing it, so there's time for discussion if someone wants to contribute their ideas how to handle ship influence upkeep.
If you feel like doing a ship part / influence cost list, I would use that as a starting point then.

Quote:
Another, non-concurrent, approach would be requiring special dock/shipyard facilities for producing ships with those techs (same way it's done with some hull lines), and giving those facilities an influence and/or infrastructure cost.
Which brings me back to: do we want an influence cost for buildings, or should we "leave it to infrastructure"?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:37 pm 
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The Silent One wrote:
Which brings me back to: do we want an influence cost for buildings, or should we "leave it to infrastructure"?
If you don't have a specific / strong reason to, no.

Generally part of the idea of a city / planet upkeep costs system is to slow down horizontal expansion (more cities / colonies) and encourage vertical development (bigger cities / colonies with more buildings in / on them), and to encourage / force players to choose their settling locations carefully, to avoid investing a lot of upkeep into a city / colony that won't end up adequately productive in the medium-term to make up for those upkeep costs. Taxing buildings with upkeep costs runs counter to this.

Edit: That said, there are probably cases where giving a specific building influence costs would make sense, even if it's not done in general. For example, it might make sense to require planets to have a building on them to have a non-trivial defense meter, but that can't be something that players will want to produce everywhere, and giving it a substantial influence cost could be a way to discourage that. The influence should also be a ValueRef, not a constant, as there might be situations in which it makes sense to have a context-dependent influence cost. For example, a evacuation on a happy vs. an unhappy planet.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:04 pm 
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The Silent One wrote:
I'll wait for a couple of days before implementing it, so there's time for discussion if someone wants to contribute their ideas how to handle ship influence upkeep.
Yes, please. I wanted to get back to this discussion several times now, and every time I got distracted by something more urgent that needed by attention.

There are several things I'd want to give input on before you advance too far in your implementation. I'll try to give it top priority now, but won't have much time before Thursday. But then I should be able to get around to put in my 2 (or more ;)) cent.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:48 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
There are several things I'd want to give input on before you advance too far in your implementation.
Sure, take your time. There's plenty of other things to do anyway ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:58 am 
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Morlic wrote:
Is the train of thought clearer to you now?
Absolutely - to be more precise, it's much more clearer now for me where you come from, or rather why we perceive the impact of flat boni so radically differently.

You're looking specifically at the early game, when those flat boni (Adaptive Automation and Nascent Artificial Intelligence especially) have a far greater impact/importance than later on, when more and more of the pop based boni kick in (and in addition to that pop per planet increases too due to advanced growth techs). I'm looking at the whole thing in general, or more at the mid and late game, considering all the techs (a lot of which you don't have in early game, but only get later on). As you said yourself, at that time the pop based boni are of far greater importance.

The other major issue is what you mentioned yourself here:
Quote:
Of course, all of this does not have to be a problem as there are solutions available. The flat boni may very well be reworked or removed from the game.
Besides that problem that resource output increase in general is far, far too excessive (an issue which has already been brought up and discussed before), especially AA and NAI are utterly unbalanced and overpowered, and in dire need of revision. The numbers you provided are proof of that, they are far too early in the tech tree and far too cheap to research for the (IMO almost ridiculous) amount of resource output they give you.

First of all, techs that give boni like that shouldn't be early game techs, then they must be sufficiently expensive that they only pay off if you have more than just a few colonies (as it is now, AA and NAI are worth the investment even if you have only a few colonies, a pop independent, flat +2/+5 bonus is a significant boost for a colony in early game). But anyway, the details on how to revise these isn't the topic here, just that they need to be nerfed/changed drastically, which is what is important when evaluating how significant they are compared to pop based boni (which in turn is important for our discussion here, colony based vs pop based influence costs).
Quote:
So a planet with 1 pop produces 15 pp - equivalent to ~21.4 population.
Mind you, that is a poor environment 1 pop planet with some bad industry species
I've never really done the maths, but looking at that I can only say, these numbers speak for themselves. If that isn't imbalanced and vastly overpowered, then I don't know what is. We really need to fix this.
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However, flat boni for a large time of the game are extremely important (in the current state) and can very much be the base of the economy.
I think this is the crucrial point. Although I wouldn't say that these flat boni are so much more important for a "large" time of the game, they are most certainly far too important for too long during the crucrial early game stage. The momentum they give you in that phase is further amplified by the exponentially growing resource output we have currently going on, giving them even more significance.

Which creates an effect which I don't think I like very much. Where at first the number of colonies you can spam is of far greater importance than the actual pop, later this shifts almost entirely to pop. Which, when trying to design game mechanics that interact with/are affected by these dynamics, makes things harder or even almost impossible to get right.

Consider the actual topic at hand, we have a dynamic during early game, for which colony based, pop-independent colony influence costs would be the better approach. As the game progresses, the dynamic changes so much, that for the mid and late game stages pop based colony influence costs would be the better approach. I don't think that this is a good thing.
Quote:
By the way, considering that outposts should probably cost some influence, I really think the influence cost per planet might even be necessary (regardless of additional pop modifier or not).
Well, what I had actually in mind was some small base costs per colony/outpost, and some larger additional costs based on pop. Another solution to that would be to simply have a fixed, small influence cost for outposts.

Anyway, the (IMO very interesting and probably superior) idea to base influence costs on star systems of course obsoletes most of the above discussion (at least as far as influence costs are concerned, the whole AA and NAI flat boni are overpowered stuff still applies of course ;)).
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Personally, I think the concept of really small and bad planets being favorable or at least equally favorable to large planets is weird and not very beneficial to the overall game as it pretty much forces you to get any planet you can get regardless of its characteristics.
I think it's clear that we are in agreement here. I certainly don't want to make all planets equal, that would completely defeat the point of having planets with different characteristics (like size). What I want to avoid is small planets becoming too undesirable.
Quote:
As long as you are not population-capped influence-wise, you always want to grab any planet.
Not more than that's already the case, without the influence stuff. And currently, even as unbalanced and overpowered as the flat boni currently are, you definitely want to go for the bigger planets first.
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Maybe I am overseeing something but in your approach I really would not care about what your planets look like. Just that you can colonize them. That is not much different from before except for the fact that you now are limited in your overall population. Which has zero impact on the kind of planets you choose.
Well, even with all the numbers you provided I still think you overrate the flat boni. Because no matter how powerful they are, a big planet is still better than a small one. The flat boni you get equally on both, but the bigger one will provide more of the pop based simply because it can hold more pop, an advantage that gets only more significant as the game progresses. I don't know what kind of setup you usually play, but in my games I never really can colonize every planet I come across early on, not even close - the costs for a new colony are considerable, especially at that start of the game, when your PP output is very limited. At that stage it can make a substantial difference how soon you put a colony on a large planet - the sooner, the earlier the large planet has significant pop, which yields signficant resource output. You pointed it out yourself:
Quote:
So overall the only real difference of varying planet sizes would be the amount of PP I have to invest to get the colonies up. 2 Small planets otherwisely are equal to a large one (neglecting the fact that they are currently better because of flat boni and defenses). Not sure if that is very interesting but it definitely is a simple concept.
If the investment required to get a colony up is high enough, it should be interesting enough. Being a simple concept is actually a good thing, simple but interesting is what we aim for.

Don't get me wrong, if by making things simpler you also sacrifice (sufficiently) interesting choices, I'm certainly with you, and in favor of keeping the choices. However, in this particular case, despite the obvious issues with the flat boni as they are now, the fact that we at one point felt the need to give the small planets something that boosted their value (better supply range) is proof that apparently their in-game value was too low. So low that we had to do something about it. You'd only grab them in case of a lack of bigger ones, which in all regards were better. And my concern still stands, that by basing influence costs on colonies and not on pop we would make that worse again.

Even with the idea to base influence costs primarily on star systems these concerns haven't been completely alleviated, because the first implementation TheSilentOne has provided so far has a costs-per-colony factor. I'd rather see a pop based factor instead of that.


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