The lighthouse has an obvious use, which is improving the detection range of nearby planets.
Just a quick point. I'm confused between the lighthouse and observatory, because it sounds to me like they do the same thing, no? I'm not against having detection buildings at all, I'm against replicating the same building over and over.
Oops! Yeah, I was describing the observatory, not the lighthouse. I believe the lighthouse *was* about extending fleet supply lanes, or possibly system supply. In any case, this is still something useful for the game now, so I don't see a reason to remove it.
Bioterror stuff ought to be merged. I never understood the point of having two bioterror labs when there are hundreds of other buildings and ideas that might be waiting to take it's place.
There's no hard cap on the number of buildings in the game, especially now when we have not put any balancing effort into things. In the particular case of bioterror, we likely won't have the projector after the relevant game systems (espionage) get added, so it's not really a long term issue. For now, there's no way to have a bioterror-like effect without a building to house the effects group.
In a more general sense, there are two bioterror buildings because I was pondering the idea of having an enabling building (the lab) and an actual doing building (the projectors. This is analgous to requiring an engineering bay in starcraft before you can build missile turrets. Both are buildings, one does something, the other lets you build the one that does something. Granted, we already have techs, but as noted above, there are strategic differences between techs and buildings that enable the player to do other things.
...it's one of those buildings that jumped the gun.
I don't think of it as jumping a gun, since playability isn't a priority at this stage. Having a building in the text file now doesn't mean it's expected to stay there until v1.0. It's just there for the mean time to doing something different from "+5 to Farming", which is rather important given the current limited range of options of what buildings are actually capable of doing in terms of significantly altering gameplay.
I'd like some buildings and techs that significantly alter how the game is played, in terms of mechanics or just strategy. The former can't really be implemented yet, but the latter might be, in some cases. Just because a building does nothing but alter a meter doesn't mean it is strategically uninteresting; A building that gives a bonus to a particular meter could actually be quite significant if it's difficult to boost that meter by any other means if the game, as currently coded, was filled with balanced and thought-out content.
Psicorp is a good idea, but it's content that was added far too soon, IMHO.
In this case, I agree. Psicorp doesn't really do anything interesting; it's just there because someone thought the concept of a Babylon 5 corps of psionics was interesting, but the building itself has no mechanical interesting features (unlike the bioterror buildings).
Meanwhile, there are other buildings that would be more meaningful right now, such as a stargate, and no, I think having jump gates and star gates, and hyper gates, and other extensions of the same concept are just as bad as the problem we have now. In fact, it's the same, so we really want to avoid that.
The problem with stargates is that we need to alter the effects system to be able to implement them. Note that all the buildings that are currently implemented are done with the effects system we have now. I'd definitely have already added a stargate or similar type of building to the game if the effects system supported it.
There aren't a lot of things buildings can do right now. There are only a few meters and planet specials, and many advanced concepts that we could play off of haven't been worked out yet. (like unrest and morale for example)
I was going to suggest a virtual reality net, but I have no idea what it would do.
The is pretty much why buildings are boring and generic now, and why little effort has gone into them. There's not much that can be done until the code is expanded.
Along those lines, if there are specific requests to be able to make a specific building that makes sense with the level of currently-coded game systems (eg. not requiring an espionage system to be designed and written), I can prioritize adding the effects or conditions necessary to do so.
This is easiest if no UI modifications are required, so for example, a stargate that automatically moves all ships in its system to some other specific system is easy, but a stargate that requires a destination to be selected is not. If a stargate just creates a wormhole, where a wormhole is a zero-length starlane that connects to systems that are too far apart to have a regular starlane, then we'd need to modify the code to allow creating wormholes (which would be complicated and likely require UI modification) but the actual ship movement would probably be pretty simple and not require much modification, as the pathfinding algorithm should automatically take the zero-length wormholes / stargates into account when planning ship routes.
So... I guess the message is that if you've got a bunch of interesting buildings that need to be added, perhaps start a discussion about what the building should do, and I can discuss whether this is feasible now, with minor modifications, or not until major modifications to the effects system are done. If you don't have any replacement buildings thought up, then why are you so concerned about removing ones that we have now? If they suck, they'll be removed eventually, but having them around now doesn't really hurt anything, does it?