#1: Where should you make the decisions about the remaining things we want control over
Both at empire and planetary level, I suggest. Leave the decision to the player. In the early game, when you have only 2 or 3 planets, you want to squeeze the optimum out of them and full control on the micromanagement level (which is already reduced by the fact that we are degenerating buildings into a infrastructiometer). Later on with growing empire size, you will not be able to control every single planet, so you issue your orders on the imperial level and the CPU assigns them to planetary queues. You may, however, have a few "favourite" planets that you feel worthy of keeping your continued personal attention (e.g. your home world).
#2: Should you build them somewhere specifically, or build them in purgatory and place them afterwards
It should be produced at a certain location (planet), a location that meets the necessary requirements (shipyards etc.) to produce the project.
#3: Should you be able to pool multiple planets' production capacities?
Absolutely no! If we allow pooling possibly combined with purgatory production or MoO3-type mob centers, then all empires will become pretty much equal except in production power. What I mean is that my empire produces 4000 pp and yours 4500 pp, so yours can produce slightly more every turn, and that is the only difference. It does not matter if your race lives on smaller planets while mine are larger. It does not matter that your planets are scattered over a huge territory while my producton power is concentrated in a few powerful planets. We both have our pool, and all we do is decide which ships to make. All ships pop up right at the front, since we have our mob center there, and it does not matter that half of the planets that constructed them are light-years away. Your fleet against my fleet. The larger fleet wins, and the game is over (ok, I am neglecting ship design and simplifying things a little, but I think my point is obvious anyway). Aquitaine has a good point in that such an approach defeats the purpose of a strategy game.
While avoiding excessive micromanagement is a noble goal, we should make sure we do not reduce the game to a primitive level. The game must have its complexity, particularly since only complexity allows different valid choices, so our goal must not be to take away complexity, but to make it manageable.
For that reason, I think we should adopt a good idea from MoO2: "rally" lanes. Have your ships produced at a certain planet, and that is where it pops up when it is complete. You preset MoO2-type rally lanes that immediately send the new ship to a planet of your choice (so that you need not micro every new ship). You will normally direct most of your output to one planet where you rally your new ships in order to form a fleet. You can, however, decide to have two or three rally points in order to defend key spots or create multiple attacking armies. Distance can also play a role in your decision which planet delivers to which rally point. That makes your empire individual. Distances, star lanes and general topology do matter and distinguish your empire from others with similar overall pp capacity, but different layout.
Everything else does not make much sense anyway. A ship is not an abstract thing; it must be produced somewhere, even if distant planets help by supplying pre-mounted parts or sending workers and equipment. And I do not see why a ship that has been produced at the most distant edge of your empire should pop up at the other edge of your empire once it has been completed, but has to travel normally afterwards if for some reason it desires to fly back to its origin.
Alright, maybe not every argument against PP pooling applies to RP as well, but the major ones seem to.
The major argument agaist PP pooling is that it reduces game complexity and empire individuality. We want to be spared from excessive micromanagement. PP pooling goes further: it makes the game primitive.drek wrote:
unless you are saying that ships deploy at the same planet in which they are constructed then move to a central rally point, which is just not going to work.
1) What if the planet producing ship X from the global queue is attacked and conquered? What happens to the project? This is bad if the player is relying on your little queue robot, and it decides to build ships near dangerous areas.
Assigning planets a classification (similar to MoO3) when you colonize/conquer it will prevent this. You can then give every production order in your global queue a priority. The CPU will not assign high-priority jobs to planets that you classified as "frontier". Of course it is also imaginable to have classifications change on automatic depending on certain factors. MoO3 is a working example what this can look like.drek wrote:
2) What if the path between the producing world and the rally system is unsafe? What if the path becomes unsafe after the project has already started to build?
Rally paths will normally lead across your own systems. If your systems are torn apart by an invader attacking a system in-between, then it is time for manual intervention. It is the task of the imperator (that is you) to react to invasions appropiately. If your routes are attacked, it is an obvious reaction to redefine rally spots for isolated systems. If you want to automate that as well, then you can as well automate the whole game, in other words, players become superfluous.
Of course it may mean a severe hit against your empire if an important ship cannot join your other forces because its production system was isolated from your main empire while it was in production. But giving a severe blow to your empire was the point of the enemy attack... and it was your fault to classify a planet that could be isolated as safe for important production. This is what makes topology an important part of the game. We should not take away the chance to make strategic maneuvers - and mistakes - or we will end up making a boring game.
A good interface can include the ability to select multiple systems with the mouse (dragging up a selection box similar to those you use when you want to scan an image and select the important part to scan from the preview), and then assign a safety classification to all selected systems at once. That will help you to update classifications as needed with only a few clicks.drek wrote:
3) What if the global queue chooses a world for producing ships that, a turn later, I decide needs a shiny new building?
I can see three possible approaches to solve this:
a) you could be allowed to pause the current ship production and do the building first as an imperial intervention to the standard building queue. The planet will resume the ship production when the special imperial (player) order has been completed.
b) you are out of luck and must either cancel the ship (losing one turn on one planet, big deal) or decide that your building can wait until after the ship, so you just add it to the planetary building queue
c) Buildings are something special in our current plans, and as far as I have understood it they are always on planetary level. We could run a separate local queue for buildings on every planet, a queue that is only used for special buildings and only filled by the player (since standard buildings like Robotic factories have been abstracted into a "infrastructuremeter"). Placing a special building into the queue of a planet will pause normal production until the building is complete. This is actually a variation of variant a).
So the problems you named are all solvable. I see no reason to accept the grave disadvantages of a PP pool because of them.tyreth wrote:
My primary reservation with pooling PP would be that individual planets would lose their flavour. But I don't think this is important, and has been adequately addressed: worlds that matter would have plenty of flavour, determined by their location and the unique buildings on them.
Umm... with production pooling, their location is absolutely unimportant
with the only exception that the enemy might want to attack them with priority if he finds out where they are. But other than that, it does not matter at all where you have your special buildings and your important worlds. They just fill their output into the pool. How boring.
I would also like to respond to a major point of Aquitaine's initial text that nobody else responded to so far. Aquitaine asked how to adequately display the infrastructuremeter on planets. A 100% display could suddenly change to 90% if a new econ building has been researched.
In my eyes, the answer is simple: Do not display the infrastructuremeter percentage-wise. Display the absolute number of pp (or rp or farming or whatever) generated on that world. With a little experience the player can be expected to interpret that number and assess the production power of that planet.
Aquitaine also suggested that the single production queue always assumes the fastest location, i.e. the planet that can produce the selected project in the least amount of turns. The flaw of this approach is that your most powerful planets will be able to produce most stuff fastest, but you do not want to have your strongest planets an endless waiting queue of projects to be done, while your weaker planets are sitting idle because they never ever get a project. As the consequence, projects must also be distributed based on load of the planet's manufacturing resources. I also suggest that every project you put into the global queue must be assigned a priority. Low priority projects go to weaker worlds and to worlds nearer to the frontier, while high priority projects go to the most powerful manufacturing worlds in the rear (your soft underbelly).
I also have a question left: KISS has been mentioned several times in this thread.
What is KISS?