Sapphire Wyvern wrote:
2) if all possible paths to supply centers are blockaded, use the above formulae at each blockaded node to calculate the route of minimum total blockade percentage (multiplying blockades in series together - ie two x 50% blockades = 25% traffic getting through).
That's getting a bit too complicated for fleet supply for my tastes. tastes? taste... plural...?[/edit]
It would be too difficult to explain to the player why s/he is getting 37.5% supply to a fleet if individual systems in the path have different and hard to predict degrees of passibility. This is a different situation from economic blocakes.
It's (IMO) OK to have a degree of blockade for each system for economic blockading, where the degree of the blockade is determined only by what's in that system (ie. if your ships get past a system's blockade, then they can make it to or form anywhere else empire (ie. they dump their cargo into the empire pool, or add their cargo from the empire pool to the planet's resources for that turn)). IN this case, it's simple for the player to see that there are so many enemy ships there and of what sizes, and so they can easily understand why they get so much reduced shipping, and so much shipping gets through. As well, in order to blockade a particular system, all the blockader has to do is put a lot of blockading ships into the system... there no less or more they can do by having ships in other systems, or carefully maintaining a balanced enclosure around the system on all sides, or other such tweaks. As such, having the added complexity of degrees of blockading isn't too difficult to comprehend.
If, however, we're talking about fleet supply line cutting, then you *have* to worry about mutiple systems in a multistage path from the fleet to a supply centre. If each system along the path can take its own chunk off the supply getting through, as a % or as a constant deduction, then it becomes necessary to micromanage your blockades in order to optimize their function. You'd have to be sure to evenly spread around all your blockading fleets so that there's no minor crack in the blockade, where one path is slightly better than all others. If there was a crack, all supply would go through it, and any excess blockading you had elsewhere would be completely wasted, necessitating keeping this carefully micromanaged.
This is significantly worse than just having to have just any path to the fleet to maintain fleet supply, or having to block all possible fleet paths from the fleet to stop supply, as doing that only requires a presence on all possible paths, but doesn't necessitate a uniform optimized blockade across many systems that's difficult to figure out, and micromanagement intensive to set up and maintain. To block all paths, you just have to scatter a few ships around, and leave them unless they're destroyed, which is an order of magnitude simpler to do.
So... perhaps fleet supply should be on if there is any path, and off if there is not a path, whereas economic blockades would have percentage effectiveness depending on various factors.
If we want to make fleet supply slightly more interesting, the rate of supply (or cost) could decrease (or increase) according to the shortest length path from the fleet to a supply source. This actually makes it even easier to block a fleet's supply lines, as you now get some benefit by blocking the shortest path, even if you can't completely surround the fleet and cut off all possible supply pathes.