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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:07 pm 
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In MoO2 you could keep building some huge thing that you didn't need to stockpile production for future, wanted projects (yet-to-unlock buildings and ship designs).
FO does (or did) not allow stockpiling. However the Imperial Stockpile addition has changed that.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the purpose of the IS was to make viable the stealth, distributed strategy (i.e. allow colonies isolated behind enemy lines to get PPs from other supply groups). That the current implementation does allow for stockpiling is a collateral damage.

So I propose a non-stockpiling alternative to the IS for your consideration:

- Refit the stockpiling planetary focus to make it a smuggling planetary focus. It works as a production focus (i.e. production-focus bonuses apply) with a percentual penalisation that improves with techs and species traits. Temptative numbers: first tech unlocks the planetary focus and gives 10% efficiency (90% loss), mid-game tech gives +10% and late-game tech gives another +10%; good smuggling gives +30% (max 60%) and great gives +60% (max 90% efficiency). Only PPs from that planet are available for smuggling.

De assignment of PPs in the production queue would be like this:
- Each supply group shall keep record of how many smuggled PPs they have available during assignment (something like supply_group.remaining_smuggled_PPs, that at start of assignment is the total PPs produced by smuggling planet in that supply group).
- Each project in the queue (in order) gets first PPs from its supply group (until depleted) and then (if smuggling for that project is enabled?) from the supply groups of the smuggling planets (if not depleted) but not more than the remaining smuggled PPs in that supply group. Therefore, maximum PPs taken are min(supply_group.remaining_PPs,supply_group.remaining_smuggled_PPs), and that is the amount you substract from both records and add to the demanding project.
If there are several supply groups with smuggling planets, say N, some order must be stablished: 1PP from each supply group? proportional to the remaining smuggling PPs of each one? all from the bigger/smaller supply gruoup then the next one?

Once influence is on, we could refit the stockpiling project to make it a smuggling operation (that requires influence upkeep). You "built" it in the planet (or just colony) where you need the PPs, and it allows that planet to draw PPs from smuggling-focused planets (below). Then there would be no toggle to enable or not a project to draw from smuggling.

Notice that there is no stockpiling whatsoever. Any PP that is not used in a turn is wasted. But it allows for stealth, distributed expansion with similar mechanics and management needs than the current IS implementation. And it bypasses the micromanagement issue of unlocking or not the stockpiling mechanism to all species, because this alternative has no use at all for non-distributed empires (no stockpiling!).


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:09 pm 
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Oberlus wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the purpose of the IS was to make viable the stealth, distributed strategy (i.e. allow colonies isolated behind enemy lines to get PPs from other supply groups). That the current implementation does allow for stockpiling is a collateral damage.
Although the current main motivation to actually implement this may have been to enable stealth empires, the FO Resource code has had a number of basic hooks re stockpiles for ages now (which we have actually pared back to make it more specific to just this IS implementation). I don't consider the limited degree of broader stockpile availability here to be collateral damage at all.

It also, frankly, seems rather late to even bring up an idea like this absent a truly compelling reason, especially as we've just been talking about how we need to focus on wrapping up 0.4.8.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:18 pm 
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It also, frankly, seems rather late to even bring up an idea like this absent a truly compelling reason, especially as we've just been talking about how we need to focus on wrapping up 0.4.8.
I can't be sorry for not having an idea earlier. Said that, the objections against IS mechanics have been succeeding during its development (thanks to Ophiucus), and that is why it has suffered several changes and redesigns.
If I suggest this now (as well as many other things before) is because I want to help. I'm not part of the development team (sorry), I lack C++ programming skills and the motivation to browse and get to know all FO code (sorry again), so I think the fact that I bring this idea now is not a problem at all: you just ignore it until 0.4.8 is out and then, if you consider it worth the extra work, implement it.
So, frankly, I don't understand the time you, Dilvish, take to make this kind of unsympathetic comments. But lets not get again into a useless interchange of unsolicited judgements on the other's doing or reasoning. I get your point: you think IS is how it is now and that is argument enough to drop this idea of mine.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:49 pm 
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Oberlus wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the purpose of the IS was to make viable the stealth, distributed strategy (i.e. allow colonies isolated behind enemy lines to get PPs from other supply groups). That the current implementation does allow for stockpiling is a collateral damage.

Well yes and no. By naming the design imperial stockpile it was pretty clear to everybody that stockpiling would be part of the design. So its rather an expected/accepted change than "damage". (Actually the precursor, the "supply ships" had the stockpiling feature as well).

I did not get quite why you think the stockpiling is bad. I see it more as a feature. It gives you some wiggling room for building (stockpile a few turns waiting for the next gen tech instead of producing stupid things).

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:21 am 
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Oberlus wrote:
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It also, frankly, seems rather late to even bring up an idea like this absent a truly compelling reason, especially as we've just been talking about how we need to focus on wrapping up 0.4.8.
I can't be sorry for not having an idea earlier....So, frankly, I don't understand the time you, Dilvish, take to make this kind of unsympathetic comments.
I took the time to make that comment not to try poking you in the eye, but as what I thought was a fairly gentle admonishment about how to be an effective team member, with an eye towards helping you be a more effective member of this team and any others you participate in. This has nothing to do with being sorry for when you had an idea-- it has to do with having discretion about when to ask other people to think about your idea.

When the brainstorming and planning phase of a project has been completed, and everyone is busy trying to implement the plan, the act of asking folks to stand back and consider dropping X and instead doing Y, just by proposing it and making them think about it, carries a cost, and should not be done willy-nilly, only for sufficiently compelling reasons.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:23 pm 
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Oberlus wrote:
FO does (or did) not allow stockpiling. However the Imperial Stockpile addition has changed that.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the purpose of the IS was to make viable the stealth, distributed strategy (i.e. allow colonies isolated behind enemy lines to get PPs from other supply groups). That the current implementation does allow for stockpiling is a collateral damage.
Let me elaborate on what the others already said. For that I'm going to delve a bit into the history of FO:

Originally there have been 4 basic resources (compared to the only 2 we have now): Food, Minerals, Industry, Research. Food has basically been a resource to maintain your pop, Minerals provided an input resource for Industry, which basically converted the Mineral resource into PP. Research worked as it does now. For reasons not relevant for this discussion, Food and Minerals have been dropped (the way those worked turned out to be not really interesting for gameplay, on the contrary, they caused too much un-fun micromanagement).

Each resource had two fundamental properties: stockpile-able yes/no, distribution dependent on resource connection yes/no. And originally you could have all possible combinations: resources that were not stockpile-able, but got distributed along resource connections, resources that were neither stockpile-able and nor dependent on resource connections for distribution (Research!), and so on.

On combination was particularly tricky: stockpile-able and dependent on resource connections for distribution. Being dependent on resource connections for distribution means location is relevant for the resource (where it gets produced and where it gets consumed), which in turn means if it's also stockpile-able, the location of the stockpile(s) suddenly becomes relevant. And once you get to that point, a whole lot of issues open up that need to be dealt with. Which lead to the fundamental design decision to simply not allow that combination. A resource can either be stockpile-able, or dependent on resource connection for distribution, or neither, but not both.

Why telling this? To understand that stockpiling isn't something we don't do at all, on the contrary. Stockpiling code has been present in the FO codebase since the dawn of time (so to speak). Geoff once said he definitely wants at least one stockpile-able resource in the game. The thing we try to avoid is a just a resource that's stockpile-able and depends on resource connections for distribution.

Which leads to the, well, conundrum the IS introduced. Because it didn't just make PP stockpile-able (which would have been a no-go), but turned PP into a resource that suddenly has two very distinct schemes applied to it: it's a resource that is both non-stockpile-able and depends on resource connections for distribution (traditional PP distribution scheme) and the exact opposite: stockpile-able and not dependent on resource connections for distribution (IS distribution scheme). By themselves, both schemes are perfectly in accordance with past design decisions, so no problem here.

However, having two practically mutual exclusive distribution schemes available for the same resource is a major deviation from the established design concepts, and the challenge has been (or still is), to integrate this new approach into FO in a way that doesn't break things. Which is why, long term, I think Geoffs idea to make this a mutual exclusive choice (you can either have PP distribution work the traditional way in your empire, or have the IS, but not both) controlled by policy cards is the right approach. Cleanly separated, you can have only one or the other, thus avoiding all issues that might arise by meshing these two together. E.g. you can decouple it from the supply mechanic altogether, so being extremely bad at supply connecting your colonies (to compensate for the power the IS gives to you) doesn't impact all the other stuff dependent on supply.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:51 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
However, having two practically mutual exclusive distribution schemes available for the same resource is a major deviation from the established design concepts, and the challenge has been (or still is), to integrate this new approach into FO in a way that doesn't break things.
It may be a at least a modest deviation from previous design concepts, but I really don't see it breaking things at all. If we implement some sort of Policy Card choice, I strongly hope it would be a purely optional policy choice about enhancing one of the current modes in exchange for giving up the other, not a forced choice between one or the other.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:39 pm 
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To be honest I thought the whole stockpile idea was terrible form the beginning, and am not in the least surprised that it's struggled in implementation to fulfill the original goals that caused the design team to take it on to begin with. Frankly some of the other ideas mentioned around the time as alternatives or supplements, like a supply-link building (think stargate for supply), supply (or maybe really "factory") ships or even "stealthy supply" were at least much more interesting prospects for me from a gameplay or even just roleplay perspective.

I realize a lot of people have already put a lot of work into this. Honestly at this point I'd say roll-out version 4.8 as planned, assuming it's not outright broken, with plans to make serious revisions if not roll it back for 0.5.

I would certainly be amenable to reviving discussion for some of the other ideas, especially if the production mechanic is going to be that variable to policy. My only concern with the idea of a supply-mechanic policy card, is you create a bit of a conundrum, that dosn't really exist in Civ VI's system.
  • Firstly, you have two policies that are mutually exclusive by definition. IE: you absolutely can't use both policy cards at once.
  • Secondly, you basically have a policy cards, one of which absolutely needs to be used, or you can't play at all.

Now mind you I'm not opposed to having a way to choose this. However I think the policy level would be the wrong place to do that. Instead this probably needs to be decided somewhere at the "government" or level. Everyone is going to need to have a government of some kind, and that could just be a trait of your particular governmental type. Maybe ideas like the stealthy supply, or open vs. closed supply, for a supply-connected mechanic could also be chosen that way too.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:30 pm 
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Dilvish wrote:
It may be a at least a modest deviation from previous design concepts, but I really don't see it breaking things at all.
Um, aside from the "at all" part (which is think is a pretty optimistic assessment), we may be at a point where things aren't outright broken now, but it certainly took us some time and effort to get there. We ran into all kind of issues, and it took us several iterations and substantial revisions of the original design and implementation to finally get something that seems to work.
Quote:
If we implement some sort of Policy Card choice, I strongly hope it would be a purely optional policy choice about enhancing one of the current modes in exchange for giving up the other, not a forced choice between one or the other.
Why? Even assuming that there might be a small reduction of micromanagement with having the IS on top of the traditional PP distribution scheme, it's not worth the issues this creates.

Making this a strictly either-or choice would e.g. remove the UI and micromanagement issues with the production queue (no need to specifically mark which items may draw from the stockpile and therefore no need for all the stuff we needed to come up with to handle the production queue).

Also, to counterbalance the power of the IS for species with good stockpiling capabilities (Sly) we crippled their supply capabilities. Which of course not only affects PP distribution, but everything that depends on the supply network. I didn't do any playtesting, but how do buildings like Industrial Centers or Black Hole Power Generators (or any of the game elements that require supply connection) work for the Sly? Then, by acquiring other species a player with Sly as starting species could easily get the best of both worlds: good IS and normal (or even good) supply capabilities. Or, what happens when a player captures Sly colonies?

Another very serious issue IMO are the ramifications of the IS now working with unlimited input, only restricted output. This significantly neuters the strategy to blockade enemy colonies with high PP output in order to deprive your opponent of precious industrial capacity. Because now all those PP aren't completely lost, they go into the stockpile, from where your opponent can salvage them, even if only slowly.

All these issues need to be addressed, and many/most of them we've got covered in the meantime, but to me the end result still looks a lot like patchwork. Because the IS in it's current form is still something that is bolted on, not really well integrated with the affected game mechanics and elements.

But making this a mutual exclusive choice between to opposite schemes for PP resource distribution (stockpiling and not depending on the supply network vs non-stockpiling and depending on the supply network ) makes all those headaches go away. No need to tamper with supply capabilities, because the supply network simply isn't used for PP distribution if you use the IS. Consequently, no issues at all when Sly capture other species and vice versa. No issues with other stuff relying on the supply network. Resource distribution for PP wouldn't work substantially different than that of the other resources, but adhere to the established patterns/rules. The only special thing about PP would be that for this resource you can actually switch between two different distribution schemes, but each scheme by itself fits with the other resources.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:51 pm 
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labgnome wrote:
My only concern with the idea of a supply-mechanic policy card, is you create a bit of a conundrum, that dosn't really exist in Civ VI's system.
  • Firstly, you have two policies that are mutually exclusive by definition. IE: you absolutely can't use both policy cards at once.
  • Secondly, you basically have a policy cards, one of which absolutely needs to be used, or you can't play at all.
That's easily solved if we stick with the idea that the IS is a special case mechanic, the exepction to the default traditional PP resource distribution scheme. In that case, distributing PP along supply lines and not stockpiling them is the default, which applies when no special policy ist set. Then you need only one policy card ("Imperial Stockpile Logistics" or whatever we want to call it), which, when activated, switches PP resource production to the IS mechanic, and disables the default scheme.

Problem solved. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:09 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
Even assuming that there might be a small reduction of micromanagement with having the IS on top of the traditional PP distribution scheme, it's not worth the issues this creates.
What issues?

Quote:
I didn't do any playtesting, but how do buildings like Industrial Centers or Black Hole Power Generators (or any of the game elements that require supply connection) work for the Sly?
Why should all species play the same way? Maybe it doesn't make sense for empires with lots of Sly to produce those buildings. I don't see this as a problem.

Quote:
Then, by acquiring other species a player with Sly as starting species could easily get the best of both worlds: good IS and normal (or even good) supply capabilities.
Is this a problem? Sly are good at letting an empire withdraw from the stockpile. So if an empire suddenly gets some Sly, it can produce for a few turns with any stockpiled production, until that runs out. If it was saving lots of it, then that was perhaps a valid strategy. Either way, if the empire has both Sly and a good supply network, the two are somewhat redundant, so having the Sly doesn't really benefit the empire very much. This is fine...

Quote:
Another very serious issue IMO are the ramifications of the IS now working with unlimited input, only restricted output. This significantly neuters the strategy to blockade enemy colonies with high PP output in order to deprive your opponent of precious industrial capacity. Because now all those PP aren't completely lost, they go into the stockpile, from where your opponent can salvage them, even if only slowly.
An empire needs to devote substantial resources to being able to (without substantial delay) access the stockpiled production... either having stockpiling species colonies, or substantial numbers of other planets focused on stockpiling. If an empire wants to do this just to be able to access a single blockaded planet's output, then that seems fine to me... But if they haven't been focusing on a stockpiling strategy for most of the game, that's probably a very inefficient use of their planets, and blockading a planet from a supply-networked empire will have substantial impact on that empire. They can either do without the planet's output, or pivot strategies to access it by starting to ramp up stockpiling capability.

Quote:
Because the IS in it's current form is still something that is bolted on, not really well integrated with the affected game mechanics and elements.
Certainly, but new mechanics like this can often be expected to take a while to integrate with all the other content and mechanics. We're using an iterative design and implementation process.

Quote:
But making this a mutual exclusive choice between to opposite schemes for PP resource distribution (stockpiling and not depending on the supply network vs non-stockpiling and depending on the supply network ) makes all those headaches go away. No need to tamper with supply capabilities, because the supply network simply isn't used for PP distribution if you use the IS.
I don't really understand this point... The two systems - stockpiling or supply networks - are already redundant. What is the huge concern about an empire having both? Doing so seems like a waste of resources, to me, not something that needs to be explicitly forbidden by game mechanics.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:16 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
Why? Even assuming that there might be a small reduction of micromanagement with having the IS on top of the traditional PP distribution scheme, it's not worth the issues this creates.
In my gameplay, the IS option very substantially obviates the pressure to sink PP into building ships that will very soon be obsolescent. Without the IS it is nearly always still worthwhile to go ahead and build something not too useless that you can hope you might find a use for in the not-too-distant-future, but I still always really hate having to decide which thing is the least useless.

In the other thread I made a suggestion to you for a rule of thumb for IS use. Please try to regain an open mind about the IS and give that rule of thumb a substantial try before making any conclusions.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:18 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
That's easily solved if we stick with the idea that the IS is a special case mechanic, the exepction to the default traditional PP resource distribution scheme. In that case, distributing PP along supply lines and not stockpiling them is the default, which applies when no special policy ist set. Then you need only one policy card ("Imperial Stockpile Logistics" or whatever we want to call it), which, when activated, switches PP resource production to the IS mechanic, and disables the default scheme.

Problem solved. :D
I can see that working. However I still think that something on that level of gameplay mechanic is a bit too "big" for something like a policy card. I think it would be really difficult to balance against any other options in the same category.

Dilvish wrote:
In my gameplay, the IS option very substantially obviates the pressure to sink PP into building ships that will very soon be obsolescent. Without the IS it is nearly always still worthwhile to go ahead and build something not too useless that you can hope you might find a use for in the not-too-distant-future, but I still always really hate having to decide which thing is the least useless.
Honestly, and in the spirit of the thread's subject, might another alternative be to make more ship-parts automatically upgrade? Especially if there is only a quantitative difference between them. I mean most strategy games like this automate upgrading to some degree. Even in games where you have to tell your units to upgrade it's often a one-click option.

I also think it's a playstyle choice to some degree. I am fine letting a few PP go to ways if I'm producing a whole lot. I don't feel like I need to figure out what to do with that 5 or 15 PP if I'm churning out 2K a turn. The effort for the return just doesn't seem to be worth it. If it really bothers me, or doesn't go away after a few turns (as I can make some rather big construction queues) I might switch a planet to research or something else.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
What issues?
Dilvish wrote:
In the other thread I made a suggestion to you for a rule of thumb for IS use.
So this is something that I think is a general frustration. I don't think it's helpful to deny something's a problem, and/or suggest that someone is just not playing the game right when they specifically identify something as a problem, issue or point of frustration. Now there are often optimal ways or settings for just about everything, but that doesn't mean that everyone will, should or even will want to do things that way. If there is a way we legitimately shouldn't be doing something in game that the mechanics should restrict that in some way to some degree, otherwise it's not really the wrong way to to play the game.

I think the discussion of alternative ideas to the imperial stockpile is a good idea. I realize there are some people who really like the idea. But that doesn't mean it's specifically a good one for this project, or that other options might not work better, or that they shouldn't be available as alternatives. I don't think that the concerns or the objections around the idea were really listened to by the people who wanted to implement it when it was taken on. Especially since it has pushed back the development of other game mechanics.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 5:22 pm 
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labgnome wrote:
I don't think it's helpful to deny something's a problem, and/or suggest that someone is just not playing the game right when they specifically identify something as a problem ... If there is a way we legitimately shouldn't be doing something in game that the mechanics should restrict that in some way to some degree, otherwise it's not really the wrong way to to play the game.
It seems to me that Vezzra himself was characterizing his IS gameplay as clashing with his views on the right way to play FO, but he feels pressured by the IS to play that way. That much really seems exceedingly clear.

My conclusion, based on how he described this pressure he felt, was that he had not seen this other way to use the IS, which could help the feature be a pleasure for him rather than a pain. Perhaps that was a wrong conclusion. Perhaps it was so wrong that he found it a bit offensive, but I am pretty sure that he would recognize that based on his statements the inference was reasonable (even if it proves wrong) and also that I had a good intent, and so I am confident he will not take offense.

It rather seems to me like you're telling me I can't try to help my friend use the feature in a better way. When I said in that other thread "Try it, you'll like it! :D" I had (and still have) genuine optimism for the sentence to prove true and the smiley to be warranted.

Even if I am right that this rule of thumb solves his frustration, that would not mean that the set of IS materials are perfect, at the very least it would suggest that the main IS pedia article should suggest a rule of thumb like that to help other players avoid similar learning-curve frustration.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:34 pm 
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labgnome wrote:
I think the discussion of alternative ideas to the imperial stockpile is a good idea. I realize there are some people who really like the idea. But that doesn't mean it's specifically a good one for this project, or that other options might not work better, or that they shouldn't be available as alternatives.

While generally you of course are right your argument could be made about anything implemented. Top of my head I think at least that three main developers committed to the imperial stockpile as a point release. I think the result works good enough and addresses the voiced concrete concerns. Saying something like "i have the feeling its not right" i actually do take serious. But it doesnt help making design decisions. I tried and tried and tried to get relevant playtesting feedback. And mostly oberlus contributed back. After almost a year on the imperial stockpile we really should ship. And work on other features.

labgnome wrote:
I don't think that the concerns or the objections around the idea were really listened to by the people who wanted to implement it when it was taken on.

As far as I can remember that you suggested mainly making colony ships cheaper which I answered to that it would open a bigger can of worms as it makes the colonisation process even more steamrolling. That really was a no go. It would have made a distributed empire more possible, but compared to a non-distributed it be even less of an alternative. And i dont think you answered that.

For Oberlus concerns i am still waiting for his answer why he thinks stockpiling should not be available to non-stockpiling species. I know he has experience with using the stockpile so I am listening very careful to what he writes.

As far as I understood Vezzras, his biggest concern was that the stockpile could become an easy way to bypass the supply line network without a big commitment. I think that actually got addressed. I kept asking since some months to please abuse the imperial stockpile with a non-stockpiling species. Until now there still is no feedback or evidence about that. I think Vezzra has a very good theoretical framework of the game. I just would love actual data.

Quote:
Especially since it has pushed back the development of other game mechanics.
For me that means we should polish, ship and move on. And after some iterations we probably come back to discussing the stockpile.


Personally i dont think imperial stockpile should be policy based because so much UI depends on it. If turning it off is an option, we probably would need to maintain two different versions of UI. Thats sound like a bad idea.

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