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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:22 pm 
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I quite like the way in some 4x games there are more problems the further away you are from the capital (C-Evo has corruption, which I think comes from Civ2 directly, for example). And it creates strategic choices over where the capital should be: I still build and move multiple capitals during a game as I like my Megaliths, and part of me likes the idea that different species/worlds get to be in charge over time.

From a space opera/classic SF perspective, as well as a historical perspective, the location of the capital and whether it should be moved is sometimes crucial (it's an actual Seldon Crisis in the 4th Foundation book for a start). If we have a mechanic that gives advantages to moving the capital more centrally and in some way, a disadvantage for doing so (even the current simple you don't have a capital for X turns) then that can create interesting choices for players.

(for those that know a bit of history (I nearly trained as a history teacher), my favourite "what if" is over the state of Maryland during the American Civil War, if it had successfully seceded and joined the CSA then the Confederate capital would've been Washington DC, with quite a few implications for international recognition, etc.—Turtledove uses a variant on this for one of his alt history series)

So I vote distance from capital myself.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:50 am 
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The Silent One wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:
.. each species costs "# colonies of all Other species in the empire" x "# colonies of This species"
Could you explain more why you think this would be a good approach? It seems too complicated to me. I would probably do it like Vezzra suggested, a linearly increasing cost per species in the empire multiplied by the number of owned colonies.


The benefit is in species composition

Empire 1 has
99 Eggassem worlds
and
1 Gyisache world

cost =99x1 + 1x99 = 198

Empire 2 has
50 Eggassem worlds
and
50 Gyisache worlds

cost = 50x 50 + 50 x 50 = 5000

basically species that are tiny minorities of your empire don't impact the cost too much, but if you are running an optimized multispecies empire (one for each environment type, spreading ones with high bonuses) then you are going to have to pay a lot.

..... a simple way do do it would be as suggested... each Colony has a cost equal to % of empire made up of different species


Also the reason for "distance to capital" is it increases with number of systems, so it makes the cost slightly above linear.

Number of systems ^ 2 would also work, but might be too steep

If we wanted a similar effect but without any 'shape limitations' on the empire.....

Perhaps Cost = Number of systems * (X + Number of systems)/ Y

Where X and Y are say 10 and 2 (and Y increases with Techs)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:18 pm 
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Krikkitone wrote:
The benefit is in species composition

Empire 1 has
99 Eggassem worlds
and
1 Gyisache world

cost =99x1 + 1x99 = 198

Empire 2 has
50 Eggassem worlds
and
50 Gyisache worlds

cost = 50x 50 + 50 x 50 = 5000

basically species that are tiny minorities of your empire don't impact the cost too much, but if you are running an optimized multispecies empire (one for each environment type, spreading ones with high bonuses) then you are going to have to pay a lot.
I've experimented with that formula and ran it through a simple Python script to see how it would work out. For simplicity sake I assume an empire with 100 colonies.

Now, lets further assume this empire has two species, and calculate the total influence costs for their colonies by interating over all possible distributions of the 100 colonies. Here is a list of tuples with three numbers: Number of colonies for species A, number of colonies for species B, and resulting total influence costs:
Code:
(1, 99, 198),
 (2, 98, 392),
 (3, 97, 582),
 (4, 96, 768),
 (5, 95, 950),
 (6, 94, 1128),
 (7, 93, 1302),
 (8, 92, 1472),
 (9, 91, 1638),
 (10, 90, 1800),
 (11, 89, 1958),
 (12, 88, 2112),
 (13, 87, 2262),
 (14, 86, 2408),
 (15, 85, 2550),
 (16, 84, 2688),
 (17, 83, 2822),
 (18, 82, 2952),
 (19, 81, 3078),
 (20, 80, 3200),
 (21, 79, 3318),
 (22, 78, 3432),
 (23, 77, 3542),
 (24, 76, 3648),
 (25, 75, 3750),
 (26, 74, 3848),
 (27, 73, 3942),
 (28, 72, 4032),
 (29, 71, 4118),
 (30, 70, 4200),
 (31, 69, 4278),
 (32, 68, 4352),
 (33, 67, 4422),
 (34, 66, 4488),
 (35, 65, 4550),
 (36, 64, 4608),
 (37, 63, 4662),
 (38, 62, 4712),
 (39, 61, 4758),
 (40, 60, 4800),
 (41, 59, 4838),
 (42, 58, 4872),
 (43, 57, 4902),
 (44, 56, 4928),
 (45, 55, 4950),
 (46, 54, 4968),
 (47, 53, 4982),
 (48, 52, 4992),
 (49, 51, 4998),
 (50, 50, 5000)
As you can see, the increase in influence costs, when one species has only one colony, to a distribution of 90/10 is extremely steep. In an empire where only one planet is owned by a second species, influence costs are 198. If that second species has only one colony more, the influence costs have already doubled, if the second species has 10 planets (that's only 10%), we are already at almost 10 times the cost. At 50/50 we have finally influence costs of 5000, which is less than 3 times than those for 90/10. That's somewhat unbalanced.

Second experiment: Assuming your empire is made up of a couple of species, where each species has the same amount of colonies (again assuming an empire with 100 colonies). With 2 species, that means 50 colonies for each, 4 species would have 25 colonies each, and so on. Now, how will influence costs add up in this case? Again a list, this time with tuples of two numbers: number of species and resulting total influence costs:
Code:
(2, 5000),
 (4, 7500),
 (5, 8000),
 (10, 9000),
 (20, 9500),
 (25, 9600),
 (50, 9800),
 (100, 9900)
So, if we have 2 species with 50 colonies each, this will cost 5000 influence. 10 species, which are 5 times as much, will cost 9000 influence, so influence costs have not even doubled. After that the increase in influence costs is almost negligible: Even if the empire has a 100 different species, where each species has only one colony, influence costs are merely 9900. That doesn't really look right IMO.

So, as tempting as this simple formula might appear, it doesn't really work out. To get the curves right, we'd have to make it considerably more complex I guess, and I don't think we should head in that direction.
Quote:
Also the reason for "distance to capital" ... Number of systems ^ 2 would also work, but might be too steep
Yep, this is my concern too. On larger maps I expect that formula to quickly deliver far too high numbers.
Quote:
If we wanted a similar effect but without any 'shape limitations' on the empire.....

Perhaps Cost = Number of systems * (X + Number of systems)/ Y

Where X and Y are say 10 and 2 (and Y increases with Techs)
Might work, but with that approach this wouldn't be a factor for capitol location. And I quite like the idea that the player will have to consider the location of his capitol wrt to influence costs.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:33 pm 
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Well the question is how a 'species cost' should behave.

I think leveling off is fine.
10 species aren't 5x better than 2
And 2 colonies of a second species is almost 2x as good as 1 colony
But having 50% species X is not 5x as good as 10% species X

If we wanted it to be steeper we could do
This species colonies * all other species colonies / 'dominant' species colonies
(Which is not much more complicated, and is linear v empire size)

That would be

2 species
1,99-2 cost
50,50-100 cost

10 species all equal-900 cost
100 "-9900 cost

So close to 100 per species, but only if all were equal
10 species 9 at 1 each and 1 at 91...cost is 18.8 (because those species aren't that useful to your empire)
For simplicity, the formula could be stated as
Cost of colony=
Number of Other species colonies / Number of dominant species colonies


As for capitals, it depends on what type of limitation you want on empire
For simplicity use the formula
Cost of system=
A*total # of systems+ B* distance to capital+ C

All three numbers decrease with techs/influence projects and make sure A and B aren't both 0.

A-strong size limitation
B-weak size limitation, shape limitation
C-reduces size/shape effects


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:29 am 
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Quote:
What can influence be spent on?
"empire upkeep":
- per star system, increasing cost by distance of system to capitol (see suggestion below)
- per colony, flat cost
- not per population
- per number of different species in the empire (formula under discussion)

"fleet upkeep"
- per hull-type, and maybe in specific cases for ship parts

"building upkeep" LATER
- not in general, only for specific buildings (space elecator?)
- influence cost may vary depending on context

What happens if there is not enough influence available?
- malus on happiness

How will insufficient happiness affect colonies?
- revolt = generation of rebel troops
- further suggestions below

Shall we get back to this? :) I have marked recent points of discussion in orange.

Concerning my suggestions for system upkeep: I think I didn't express my proposal clear enough. My idea was that the colony nearest to the capitol "pays" the distance to the capitol, and a colony a little farther away has to pay the distance to the other colony only. Anyhow, I like Vezzra's sector capital idea a lot. How about if every planet set on influence becomes a "sector capital"? That would mean all colonies on influence focus pay the distance to the capitol, and all other colonies pay the distance to the capitol or a world on influence focus, whichever is nearer. So the decision which planet you set to influence will be very important. (You would have to distribute your influence worlds evenly over your empire. If you allow a player to invade one of your strategic "influence worlds", maybe close to where you planned to begin your own invasion, that may disrupt your influence over your empire, forcing you to draw back and rearrange. You would have to guard these worlds well.)

About the revolt mechanism: I think there's agreement that insufficient influence should lead to a happiness malus, and low happiness will cause revolt. I'd suggest several levels of unhappiness/revolt, with different penalites, e. g.:
- happiness < 15: reduce troop (re)generation (14: to 80%; 13: 60%; 12: 40%; 11: 20%)
- happiness <= 10: reduce max troop capacity (10: to 80%, 9: 60%, 8: 40%, 7: 20% 6: 10%)
- happiness <= 5: generate rebel troops (5: 1/turn, 4: 2/turn, etc.; if in supply of empire the colony formerly belonged to: x2)
The happiness icon could change corresponding to the (lacking) happiness, a tooltip could show information about the penalties in effect.

Some pending proposals (mostly from Geoff and Vezzra) about the revolt mechanisms:
- create a troop transfer focus / building?
- generate more rebel troops if there is a supply connection with the former owner?
- suppress rebellion with ships in orbit?

Are there any more suggestions / comments about how the cost for the number of species in your empire should be calculated?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:53 pm 
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I think I have to go through the entire thread thoroughly to refresh my memory of all the ideas presented here to get back into that discussion properly. As I'm currently on my autumn break, that might take a while, but I'll try to get back to this ASAP. :D


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:18 pm 
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The Silent One wrote:
Concerning my suggestions for system upkeep: I think I didn't express my proposal clear enough. My idea was that the colony nearest to the capitol "pays" the distance to the capitol, and a colony a little farther away has to pay the distance to the other colony only. Anyhow, I like Vezzra's sector capital idea a lot. How about if every planet set on influence becomes a "sector capital"? That would mean all colonies on influence focus pay the distance to the capitol, and all other colonies pay the distance to the capitol or a world on influence focus, whichever is nearer. So the decision which planet you set to influence will be very important. (You would have to distribute your influence worlds evenly over your empire. If you allow a player to invade one of your strategic "influence worlds", maybe close to where you planned to begin your own invasion, that may disrupt your influence over your empire, forcing you to draw back and rearrange. You would have to guard these worlds well.)


I like that idea, it gives your empire a "shape" and makes which worlds are influence worlds important.


Also... supressing rebellion with ships in orbit...
I think that should be an option, however it should result in lower base happiness/more rebellion throughout your empire.
So your ships either
-don't affect rebels... they'd never bomb us out
OR
-are necessary to supress rebels....as soon as the ships leave we'll revolt...before they come back and wipe us out.

Possibly based on whether you bombard a rebelling planet (you get the option)... if you do it, all ships in your empire start to suppress rebellions (as well as those specific ones you gave the order actually bombarding the rebels), but all your other planets start to rebel (the Alderaan problem...the more you bombard rebels, the better your ships are at supressing..and the more necessary they are)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:15 am 
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Was reading the thread, and I had two ideas:
1) Why not make influence projects system-level, meaning:
  • e.g. incite revolt would do this for all enemy planets in the system
  • would open up a way soften up attack fortress systems with many planets
  • no hassle in the UI to select the right planet
  • Presentation of ongoing projects wouldnt clutter up planet presentation (already a problem if you have many planets in system: you need to scroll to see what is happening there)
  • many seemed to favor influence cost on system-level, so that would be nicely reflected
Oh I just saw that influence projects will be discussed later :oops:

2) I liked the idea that planets with influence focus would be kind of sector capitals. Something similar to supply, those capitals would gain politic (vs military) control of neighboring systems. Visualization could be convex boxes around the influenced sector. Systems with population centers under control produce influence points (maybe a fixed amount or based on the amount of control).
From the capital and from sector capitals, Control would push outwards and diminish with jump distance, never overlapping with other sectors.

I played around with numbers and made an example. Control builds up more slowly than supply, pushing e.g. a half of the difference of the control to neighboring systems. For diminishing, the difference is lowered by 2 before division. And I round to the nearest CP. See Freeorion sector control (google docs).

In this example
  • after 11 turns with no interference, the empire capital sector would have its maximum radius of 6 jumps
  • after 5 turns with no interference, a normal sector would have its maximum radius of 3 jumps
  • 1-jumps need 4 turns to get the maximum CP from the empire capital.
  • in order to politically control all planets between two sector capitols without disturbing each other, you would place the second 7 jumps away from the other

If you base influence points on control points and population centers, you would try to make systems capitals which have a lot of neighboring systems with outposts and colonies, which feels right.

Neighboring sectors (within or between empires) lessen control at the borders. A system's control would be lessened by half of highest influence of all direct neighboring systems sector. So having many sector borders is not a good thing because the sectors try to wrestle for control.

For AI I also think that some useful heuristics could be found without much hassle.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 3:30 pm 
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I am commenting on the previous thread Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance and this thread. These are not, "done before New Years" types of suggestions and are not meant to pull focus from landing the Fighters branch and other work directed to a Fighters based release.

I like using influence to enable espionage/political/sabotage/increasing allegiance etc. Influence could be the resource to drive a parallel political achievement like production is the critical resource for the conquest achievement and research is the resource for transcendence.


Make the production mechanic work on its own merits.

Don't try to fix production exponential growth problems with a new mechanic. Make production work on its own as a correctly balanced mechanic. Bigjoe5 made the same point. Geoff's currently discussed PR is also in line with this sentiment.

There are many factors relating to the production problems. Balancing them all with a new mechanic will either tightly constrain the new mechanic to work as the inverse of the production bonuses (at all times) or not counter the exponential growth contributors. Some of the factors contributing to the rapid growth of production are quadratic growth in area colonized, multiplied by growth in population, multiplied by growth in max population cap, multiplied by the increase in number of types of planets colonizable, multiplied by the increase in number of species in empire, etc.

Vezzra pointed out that, the different factors contribute different amounts to the exponent in the early, mid and late game. It is also different for different galaxy initial conditions. A sparse galaxy with no native species will grow much slower than a dense galaxy with a deep pool of natives to colonize the largest number of environments early in the game. An influence mechanic designed to fix explosive production growth would need to dynamically match its exponent to the inverse of the current production exponent.

Geoff's PR is a better approach to improving the production mechanic than using a new mechanic to "fix" an old mechanic's problems.


Influence is to diplomacy as production is to conquest.

Influence and the diplomatic win condition/achievement should be related like production and conquest or research and transcendence.

The goal of influence projects is to flip opposing planets so that their influence resources are feeding into your empire. This does not mean that their production resources or supply are in your control. It is possible to have split/dual control of a colony.

An alliance means that all of that planet's influence feeds into your empire's influence network, analogous to a conquest which means that all of the planets production feeds into your empire's production. It would be possible that a colony's influence and production would go to two different empire's tallies. In real world terms, perhaps that would be like an areas population supports one political party, but their primary employer supports a different party, or the ruling class is French and catholic and the people English and protestant.

This is intentionally a parallel and independent type of colony control from conquest. Losing influence control of a colony does not create rebels who invade from within. It avoids politics being a bolted on mechanic to a conquest game. People can't say "Peace is that thing that buys you time to prepare for war". The other empire might be making peace to win with peace.

Create two asymmetrical projects to use production to force a change of influence control and vice versa. For example building a massive garrison/indoctrination network to convert a military conquest into an influence conquest or conversely a cultural outreach center/embassy to cause a bloodless transfer of power to convert influence control into dual control. The asymmetry should be enough that it is usually a better use of resources for an influence empire to spend points influence flipping colonies and a military empire's points are better spent on conquering new colonies. Split colonies is where the game's conflict is, so that should happen naturally while empires are doing what they are good at.

Being at war with an empire should provide a substantial protection from some of the influence effects of the opposing empire. The player should be concerned about military conquest by empires they are at war with and political conquest by empires that they at peace with.

The political/influence win/achievement is the first empire to forge alliances (have influence control) with all colonies. It will feel different from the conquest win. Two different empires could simultaneously achieve political dominance and military conquest and then both begin trying to convert each others colonies to achieve total dominance.


Give influence the correct number of moving parts for fun.

The political achievement needs enough moving parts to be fun.
The conquest achievement has research ship components, design ships, build ships, assemble fleets, attack ship/planets, and finally assault colonies. It is fun.
The transcendence achievement has research Transcendence. It has one step and is not satisfying.

I assume that our current level of conquest complexity is a good level for fun. Roughly match the number of stages involved to create a fun political achievement. For example research political techniques, recruit and outfit political operatives, dispatch operatives to colonies, run ops, achieve and maintain alliances.

Political operatives should be small in number (dozens) and not disposable, in contrast to ships. By being small in number and persistent they can be the dramatis personae through which the story of each game unfolds. Because of this goal I would not have assassination missions.

Agents can be flipped to become double agents. Double agents can then be used to subvert other empire's missions (by not changing the mission, just stipulating the outcome). Agents can be trained and then put back in the recruitment pool to be picked up by an unsuspecting empire.

Represent agents on the MapWnd like fleets and have an AgentsPopupWnd like the FleetWnd that pops up and shows their ongoing missions. The don't interact with fleets just other agent stacks and colonies.


Create a Influence queue/screen

The Silent One wrote:
Influence should have its own screen like production and research

The Silent One made and posted an impressive mock up. It is impressive. Look at it again. This screen is where the interactivity/conflict of the influence mechanic plays out. It should aim to require as much management as building fleets and troop ships to conquer a planet.

Influence projects can be built on your own worlds and on other empire's worlds. Influence projects on your own colonies would be to increase influence production, improve influence efficiency to reduce unrest or increase happiness, or increase influence projection range. Influence projects on other empire's planets would consume your influence to increase unrest, increase the local efficiency of your influence usage, etc.

Projects like espionage and reconnaissance are automatic effects of influence, like scouting is currently an automatic effect of scan range. Once a system is visited/culturally linked to your empire, upgrades to your visibility of their colonies and their influence projects on your colonies only depends on your relative influence levels.

Consider making all influence projects continuous/ongoing to make them distinct from production projects?


Create a AgentsWnd to recruit/train agents

Use the same interface as the DesignWnd except that rather than ship designs, agents are individuals that are modified over time. They could have slots for skills and associates.


Focus?

What should this mean for focus? I'm not sure. Either the production controlling empire also controls focus. Or split the focus meter types into (production/supply), (influence/growth), (research/?) and the empire that controls the production/supply/research directs that focus meter.


Influence and stability
Vezzra wrote:
Yeah, we definitely need to do something about the steamroller effect ...


Reduce the steamroller affect by adding an empire stability effect. If you grow too fast there is a risk of a sizable portion of your empire seceding and joining another empire or forming a new rebel empire (if the current number of AIs is below the maximum number of AIs). This could be mediated by influence so that rapidly expanding a high influence empire reduces your influence but insulates you from the instability effects. Conversely expanding by conquering an empire with higher influence than your own more rapidly increases instability in your own empire. This is an effect that could scale with difficulty, so that at higher difficulty empires are more inherently unstable.

This is similar/the same as Geoff's low happiness, and high allegiance to a foreign empire generating rebels from the earlier thread, but without the rebels.


Influence and colony history
Geoff wrote:
What if a planet changes ownership several times? Does it remember its original or most recent previous owner? How long does an owner stay "original" or "previous" if nothing else changes?

Geoff wrote:
Most planets would be substantially unhappy by default


The longer a colony remembers its history the more flavor the individual games have. An empire pursuing a conquest strategy will have to spend production points maintaining garrisons/slaves to deal with the persistent unhappiness due to prior bombing/assault. Whereas an empire pursuing an influence approach will have faster smoother transitions and less ongoing production point costs for garrison maintenance.

Mechanically, keep a queue for each colony of social events, for example: colonizing empire (+positive assoc forever), homeworld where the colonists came from (+positive assoc forever), bombardment (-negative forever), ground assault (-negative forever), concentration camps (-negative), decommission camps (neutural), concentration camps again (-more negative), decommission camps (neutral). Also store the fully processed value so that you don't need to recalculate the whole value each time. The complete queue is really there so that the player can browse the list to find out, "Why do they hate us so much?", "Oh yeah, the double concentration camps."

This also make grabbing homeworlds/colonizing centers a strategy to manage unrest in the empire, by stealing some positive association.


Use influence to fix scanning inconsistencies.

An inconsistency in freeorion is that it has faster than light (FTL) travel, however the scanning range of ships is still a circle(implying a sphere). This in turn implies a FTL scanning technology that is not mentioned in a techno blurb in the Pedia. The mechanic is intuitively obvious and simple because it is easy to conflate it with light's apparent instantaneous behavior on a human scale. It may be a case of game mechanic trumps reality, but I will suggest a different mechanic that makes use of influence.

Currently scanning has a strength and a range. The strength must be greater than the stealth of an object to detect the object. The range must be large enough to reach the location in the galaxy where the object is. I suggest removing range. Your own ships/colonies/planets can only detect objects in the same system, with less stealth than their detection strength. In systems with only ships/colonies of other empires your ability to scan will depend on your influence at that planet being above some threshold. The idea is that the influence mechanic subsumes trade, culture, espionage etc., all the things that would enable you to learn about another system.

It means that deep space locations will always be blind spots.

It intentionally reduces the area of the map where you have good knowledge. It increases the imperfect information of the early game into the late game, when facing comparable opponents. Currently, there are no surprises in the late game, you can see their stack and they can see yours. It removes the micromanagement of running espionage missions on each planet. Basically, if you are above a certain threshold and within a certain differential of the opposing empire, then you get a certain level of visibility into their colony's affairs and their fleets in systems where you do not have your own ships/planets.


Influence should be more local than production.

Create differentiation of the three resources. Research points are global to your entire empire. Production points are available throughout each group of supply chain connected planets. Influence spreads from peaks of high influence: home worlds, wonders, old stable colonies. Influence should drop off with number of hops from source. It should not drop when passing through empty systems, because if no one lives there then how can influence change. This is the "The Silent One"'s distributed influence islands idea.

The Silent One wrote:
every planet set on influence becomes a "sector capital"


It creates three levels of differentiation: Research and RP are empire wide, PP are per supply chain, and influence is a small number of hops H from each influence center.


Don't stockpile influence

Stockpiling influence is like saying "Our diplomats/spies/author did nothing for two years, because we were saving up our influence to use all at once".


Smuggling

Recent work on supply ships for transferring PP between supply islands made me think that a smuggling influence project would be a way to transfer PP from the pool where the smuggling mission is into/out of a smuggling network. It is a way to abstract smuggling in to a game mechanic tied to both influence and production.


Do not use influence to manage/mitigate ship/fleet upkeep costs.

Keep influence focused. Fix upkeep costs within the industry framework.

A small maintenance cost 1/10, 1/100 or 1/1000 of hull or ship cost, caps fleet sizes in a transparent way. Our current escalating costs mechanic is easy to miss. Assigning large/med/small hulls with different upkeep costs means that large hull survivability may be offset by the cheap low upkeep disposability of many small hulls. For example compare:

1 large ship costing 1100 at 10% maintenance per turn costs 110 points per turn to maintain.
10 small ships costing 100 each at 1% maintenance per turn cost 10 points per turn to maintain.

The difference of 100 production points per turn means that the small ship empire could afford to lose a ship each turn and still break event in a long term conflict. I'm not suggesting those particular numbers, only that influence is the wrong mechanic to tame upkeep costs.



Rock (conquest) beats Scissors (transcendence), beats Paper (diplomacy), beats Rock (conquest)

Long, long term in a game of of the future, the following dynamic would be fun.

First make the diplomacy vs conquest game balanced on its own merit. Then flesh out transcendence into a comparably complex achievement. And finally.

[*] Rock smashes scissor. Military empires should have no trouble term attacking and beating primarily research empires before they even get close to transcendence.

[*] Paper covers rock. Influence base empires should ignore the conquest let it roll over them. And then let the resistance begin. The influence negatives from conquering an entire galaxy should be so large than an influence based empire should have no trouble disrupting, breaking apart and absorbing the influence, reaching the political achievement and converting that to total dominance against a purely military empire.

[*] Scissors cuts paper. Technology that cancels the effects of previous levels of influence should be cheap, so that although research based empire won't be able to project influence, it will be immune to the influence of less technological empires. A real world example is an empire that has transitioned to television is difficult to influence with only printed books, and impossible to influence with non-televised speeches.

This balance of empire types means that a (MAJOR focus, minor focus) pair of foci for an empire to counter a specific opponent would be an interesting choice.



Thanks for reading/skimming/glancing at the last sentence. I eager to see what comes of the influence mechanic.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:33 pm 
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LGM-Doyle wrote:
Thanks for reading/skimming/glancing at the last sentence. I eager to see what comes of the influence mechanic.
Well, I actually read (not just skimmed ;)) through the whole proposal, and I guess you'll have to be very patient for feedback - that's a lot to mull over, and what you're suggesting here would impact the design of the game on a very fundamental level. I'll probably have to read through this a couple of times, and then there are all the other ideas and suggestions flowing around here on that topic, it will take a while before I'll be able to really dig through all this... ;)

I have to say, some of the ideas/suggestions you outlined here sound very interesting, and I'd like to adopt them (maybe in an adjusted form) regardless if we decide to go with the basic proposal or not.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 10:58 pm 
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As Vezzra says, there's a lot here and I need to reread/review the thread anyway so specific responses will take time, but I'm going to clarify a point.
LGM-Doyle wrote:
Make the production mechanic work on its own merits.

Don't try to fix production exponential growth problems with a new mechanic. Make production work on its own as a correctly balanced mechanic. Bigjoe5 made the same point. Geoff's currently discussed PR is also in line with this sentiment.

There are many factors relating to the production problems. Balancing them all with a new mechanic will either tightly constrain the new mechanic to work as the inverse of the production bonuses (at all times) or not counter the exponential growth contributors.

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. I've gone into more detail before but the current blunt edge "all hulls cost the same" approach reduces fleet variety and makes balancing lines harder: both the ORganic line and to a lesser extent the Asteroid line benefit from/are meant to have combined fleets with different types of ship, but the current system means that "Big Ships Win" and balancing that at all is a pain, a small scouting frigate should not have the same upkeep as a Titanic hull Dreadnaught, that it does gives a substantial advantage to the Dreadnaught using player that I loath.

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.

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. 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).

The idea isn't that Influence can relate directly to production. The idea is that with the upkeep mechanic changed and with another focus based meter total production will both not need to be as high and be reduced anyway, at that point I can balance all the production effects and not have to worry about disruptions due to the current upkeep mechanic.

It's not "Influence solves Production balance", it's that "introducing Influence requires a substantial rebalance anyway" AND "replacing the current upkeep mechanic requires a substantial rebalance anyway".

Two separate rebalance requiring things, best done at the same time, means that's the best time to consider the overall thing. Which is what I/we have been planning for for so long it's silly.

For the record: I don't care if Upkeep is a part of Influence or accounted for in a different way (a scriptable PP cost per hull per turn that can also apply to some parts might also work).

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.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:29 pm 
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MatGB thanks for clarifying that about upkeep. I missed that distinction.

I agree that the upkeep mechanic is unsatisfying. It helps to realize that you are thinking about upkeep, influence and production (and infrastructure) as three(four) game mechanics that stand on their own.

Towards the end of my post I mention per hull production costs, which I probably saw you propose earlier, but I forgot when I wrote the post.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:26 am 
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I really like the idea of controlling two parallel empires
Your influence empire and your production empire. As well as a rock paper scissors for the three main outputs

I could see it working like this
-all the production from your production empire cities goes to your supply connected production projects (which are mobile and either add new worlds to your production empire-conquest or add production empire worlds to your influence empire-suppression/reprogramming)

-same for influence...except it may have different "supply lines" (you need the equal sharing in some type of "supply group" to avoid micro)

-you get any of the research from a world in either...research gives you immobile global projects that increase your efficiency

Other thoughts to follow

Focus is a big issue.
If you get all of X resource from planets in your X empire, then you want to maximize X output over Y output over planets that are in your X empire but not your Y empire.

I'd suggest 2 sets of focuses (so every planet has 2 focuses)
Production focuses + Influence focuses

Production focuses would include things like Production output, supply, military focuses..probably a focus to "convert" the world to your influence empire...or to maximize influence output (for a world part of your influence empire)

Influence focuses would include things like influence output, probably growth, ?espionage/diplomacy? focuses, including a focus to "convert" to your production focus..or maximize production output

Research would be a focus of one of them or both...thats an important question...particularly in thinking through the rps mechanisms

Empire stability should be a problem for Both of your empires...rapid expansion of your 'alliances/cultural area' should cause problems just like rapid expansion of your conquests.

Some of that problem would be mismatch (struggles where you share control)...however, Evenly expanding should be just as hard.(we don't want to force balance...its more interesting if mismatched empires go up against each other.)

So factors you would have:
Production/Influence->acquires worlds (best at acquiring its own "half" but can acquire the other half at reduced efficiency

Research->improves worlds or moves towards transcendance win..most likely to take place in worlds where you have double ownership (so you don't have to share)

Happiness/Allegiance->controls size+species composition of your empire. When a world is acquired a 'happiness' cost is paid over a period of time. Both production and influence provide Expensive ways to increase happiness/stop rebellions (stopping rebellions should be Very expensive)


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:03 pm 
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Ok, before the discussion on LGM-Doyles extensive proposal continues, I have a proposal of my own regarding the proposal and its discussion:

Although the proposal has been inspired by the design discussion about the Influence mechanic proposed in this thread, and deals a lot with an alternative way to design this mechanic, it actually goes far beyond the original scope here. Because it not only proposes a completely new take on Influence, but pretty much suggests a new approach on the design of all the basic resource types, how they are supposed to work, interact which each other, and how fundamental gameplay should be based on them.

Of course, much is similar, especially with the industry/production resource, but as a whole, the proposed approach impacts the current design on a fundamental level (having two separate kinds of "control" over a colony, which can be hold by different empires is the most obvious element here).

For that reason I strongly suggest moving the post with the proposal and all subsequent posts which reply to it two a new, separate thread in the Other Game Design forum. Because if we want to seriously consider this, we will also need to consider all the implications for the other game mechanics, and this definitely goes beyond the topic of this thread.

Any objections, comments?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:33 pm 
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Agree. Much bigger than actually implementing influence, so it should be separate.


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