DESIGN: Buildings / Build Queues / Infrastructure

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Aquitaine
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#31 Post by Aquitaine » Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:47 pm

Yeah, 'defense as focus' is a little tricky because 'focus' is 'what this planet does most of the time' while defense is more 'what to spend a while on and then maintain so it doesn't break.'

A couple ideas for defense:

The 'build slots' are for various things that you pick, but for other types of buildings, every planet has a slot for it (like a province in EU2 or Crusader Kings) and you can only build it once you've got the pre-req. It's a little bit more like MOO2 in this regard, but these buildings should have a design philosophy of 'optional' or 'purely military' or something -- need to think this out a little bit more. But i don't think we can cram everything into 3 slots. I also don't want to have to be continously revisiting every planet to make sure all the optional things that I want are there. hmm.
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utilae
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#32 Post by utilae » Wed Apr 28, 2004 8:44 pm

I like the idea of having seperate build slots for defense/millitary. It would be cool thuough if you select a defense rating out of 5 or something. And that ratio of slots is for defense, while the rest is for the primary, secondary focus. The ai would build the defenses itself, just like it would build the primary, secondary focus itself.

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Ragnar
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#33 Post by Ragnar » Wed Apr 28, 2004 8:58 pm

You are probably going to want to defend all you decent industrial planets. It would be a waste to have to use your secondary focus for defence. And, what's the point of a primary focus on defense, what are you defending? :? I think defence should be independant of focus.

A viable idea would be to have 3 slots for any building and 1 or 2 for defensive structures only. Any of the 3 could also be used for defense to make a "fortress" planet. These slot numbers are subject to game balancing, of course.
Another option is to have defense a completely separate mechanism. Regardless of foci and building slots, you could set a defense level that functions like infrastructure and subsequently costs more the higher you set it.
(I think someone may have already pitched these ideas.)

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#34 Post by drek » Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:21 pm

Ragnar wrote:And, what's the point of a primary focus on defense, what are you defending?
You'd be defending the other planets in the system, and other planets further down the starlanes. And not just from enemy invasion: I was imagining that defense would help out vs. spies, pirates, unrest, and maybe even natural disasters caused by random events.

Anyway, again ships should be the primary defense. If you want to defend an industrial world, stick some ships in that system.

There is already Focus. There might be build slots, or some other form of buildings. Do we really *really* need a third system for expressing what's being built on a planet? If so, it would be better to junk all of the above and come up with a single Unified Theory of FO Buildings.

(Maybe ground defenses should be units, handled as ground troops, acknowlegding that they don't really fit in as buildings)

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Sandlapper
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#35 Post by Sandlapper » Thu Apr 29, 2004 1:13 am

Perhaps we could allow a special defense building slots, however, limit their availability, to minimize micro concerns...i.e. small galaxy has five specials, medium has 10, large 15 etc.

After the limit is reached, all remaining slots are greyed out. This allows you to tweak your defense, but minimizes micro.

In a small galaxy, you can build up five border systems at critical areas, but must use "normal" defense everywhere else. I would allow dismantling, so as to open up a slot elsewhere, if new worlds are acquired.

Additionally, I would like to see a right click menu option for defense ("normal") , where you could sub-select a defense option.

For example, selecting "industrial focus systems" defenses, would open submenu with options of "Light, Medium, Heavy, or Fortress" defense. Selecting one of these changes all "industrial focus systems" likewise. I would have the AI automatically update for new tech advances, per level of defense chosen.

If your core "industrial focus systems" are in system, away from the border, select light or medium; if near the border select heavy or fortress and let your fleets make up the differences

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#36 Post by Kostik666 » Thu Apr 29, 2004 1:17 am

umm... i already gave this idea a long time ago....

i revised it into a new one.

we have a slot build for military/defence, upon building which you will have like 4 slots inside that military/defence into which you have a choice to put a laser, a missile, fighter and shield. for these you can also put 3 lasers and a shield, or modify as you want.

another idea to this is my previous one
create a standard defence base, which you still have to select to build, but you have a separate screen on which you can assign point or percent values for this "standard".
IE: missile - 30%, laser - 30%, fighter - 30%, and 10% shield, and this will be every defence base you build, which auto upgrades to the latest tech.

minimizes micro, and generalizes it, so you still have a choice wether to go all laser or all missile.
>^)

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#37 Post by drek » Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:00 am

Aquitaine wrote: But i don't think we can cram everything into 3 slots. I also don't want to have to be continously revisiting every planet to make sure all the optional things that I want are there. hmm.
It might be that three slots is too few, depends upon the list of buildings we have. But what "everything" is there cram?

Building economy buildings is redundant. The focus system already handles that. If the player clicks Farming focus, should he then has to go in and build farming strucutures?

If a player builds a huge fleet of scary starbases, I'd say he's made his choice. That system is "well defended". Should he then have to go in a build a lot of little defensive structures to enforce a decision that's already been made?

FO's already got an economy system, it's already got tokens that represent military strength. Structures should do special, misc things not handled via the v.2 systems. To put it in moo2 terms, a structure is a planet special that the player builds.

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#38 Post by Satyagraha » Thu Apr 29, 2004 9:13 am

Kostik666 wrote:another idea to this is my previous one
create a standard defence base, which you still have to select to build, but you have a separate screen on which you can assign point or percent values for this "standard".
IE: missile - 30%, laser - 30%, fighter - 30%, and 10% shield, and this will be every defence base you build, which auto upgrades to the latest tech.
I think this is a good solution, too, but we should try to keep new systems down to a minimum. So instead of assigning %, it should work exactly like designing fighters, a starbase is one of the available chassis then, and has more hitpoints than a fighter chassis etc.

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Daveybaby
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#39 Post by Daveybaby » Thu Apr 29, 2004 9:14 am

Random thoughts:

(1) Defence certainly shouldnt be a focus choice - the whole point of defence is to defend your key systems - which should be the ones already focussed on doing something important. If you want to defend a key farming world, but need to move its primary focus away from farming to do it (thus reducing its farming output to the point where it might not be worth defending it any more) then whats the point?

(2) Defences shouldnt be automatically determined - there are lots of factors which affect what level of defence to put on a planet - where it is, what other empires are nearby and how dangerous are they, what the planet produces, how important what it produces is to your empire, how big the planet is, etc etc.

(3) Having the player build individual defences such as missile bases and star bases could end up pretty micromanagement intensive - totally at odds with the way planet economies are handled.

(4) I'm not keen on the idea of slots - its too limiting. Fleets dont suffer from these limitations (assumption) so why should planetary defences?

====================================

How about this:

(1) Each planet is assigned a defence classification independently from its economic focus. This could be a simple defence level from 0 to 5 (or whatever) or a designation such as 'undefended/minimal defence/../fortress system'. Maybe let the player define custom classifications if they want.

(2) On a separate screen, the player can assign what to build on planets at each defence classification. i.e. how many (and what types of) missile launchers, beam weapons, fighters, system ships, orbital bases etc. There should be no upper limit other than what you can afford to build and maintain.

Thus the player can set up the defence levels to a very detailed degree - and then just has to pick an appropriate defence level for each system. Minimal micromanagement and minimal UI clutter on the main screen.
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#40 Post by drek » Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:44 pm

Daveybaby wrote:
There are lots of factors which affect what level of defence to put on a planet.
There's already a system in place for distributing military power--fleets. If you want to defend a border world, move in your ships. As an important bonus, you'd be able to see which systems are defended by fleets from the galaxy screen, without having to drill down to the system or planet screens.

If buildings are meant to be relatively rare objects (as per powercrazy's infrastructure idea), then there just won't be that many different types of structures to stick in those 3 build slots. Defense structures would be a natural fit for the sort of building you would want in a planet slot.

Most, if not all, economy buildings would be entirely abstracted--you wouldn't be screwing yourself out of any extra resource production by burning a slot on defense. If the average world has three slots...that's enough for a Shipyard, a wonder, and a fort to defend the planet with.

Some worlds (such a your Homeworld) would have a few extra slots. It would be a good strategy for the player to search for a world with extra slots to build critical structures on, so that plenty of room remains to build defenses.

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#41 Post by emrys » Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:58 pm

drek wrote:Come to think of it.....
minimal: Primary and secondary focus not set to defense
low: Secondary focus to defense
medium: Primary focus to defense
high: Primary and secondary focus set to defense
fortress: Primary and secondary focus set to defense, build slots used to build special defensive structures
The problem with that is that presumably I want to defend strategically important planets and usually they are important because they do something well, I.e. they are high research, industrial, mineral planets etc. The suggestion you have here would only allow me to heavily defend planets that don't do anything useful, which is kind of pointless.
Last edited by emrys on Thu Apr 29, 2004 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#42 Post by drek » Thu Apr 29, 2004 1:04 pm

*nod*

In retrospect, defense as a focus is pretty stuipid.

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Daveybaby
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#43 Post by Daveybaby » Thu Apr 29, 2004 2:01 pm

drek wrote:There's already a system in place for distributing military power--fleets. If you want to defend a border world, move in your ships. As an important bonus, you'd be able to see which systems are defended by fleets from the galaxy screen, without having to drill down to the system or planet screens.
Thats basically an argument for not having system/planetary defences at all. Which is a fair enough argument.

My point (i think...) is that *if* you are going to have planetary defences in the game, then they should be:

(1) Powerful enough on a well defended planet to make a significant difference to the outcome of a battle

(2) Not so powerful that they make assault an impossibility. They should never be able to stand up to a large (for that stage of the game) attacking fleet without some defensive ships to help.

(3) Expensive enough that a player would have to make significant sacrifices elsewhere if they wanted to have a large proportion of their worlds very well defended.

(4) The above 3 statements should remain roughly true throughout the game from the early stages (where fleets are tiny) through to the late stages with massive armadas.

IMO the easiest way to achieve this is to make planetary defences broadly behave in the same way as fleets, i.e. you can specify how many weapons of each type you want. This way they are always able to keep up with fleets.

Its all a matter of trying to balance offensive and defensive capabilities so that people cant be overrrun too easily... but also cant turtle to the point where every game becomes a stalemate. System defences *can* be a vital component in achieving this balance, depending on the game mechanics (although with starlane only travel defense comes down to holding chokepoints thus planetary defences to hold your 2nd line planets arent as important as your 1st line defences cant be bypassed as easily).

Edit : This is probably getting a bit off-topic :oops:
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#44 Post by emrys » Thu Apr 29, 2004 2:35 pm

drek wrote:If a player builds a huge fleet of scary starbases, I'd say he's made his choice. That system is "well defended". Should he then have to go in a build a lot of little defensive structures to enforce a decision that's already been made?
That raises an issue - are we going to have immobile/System limited defences built like ships (i.e. orbital bases) ?

If so whatever system we come up with to handle them will most probably fulfill all our planetary defence needs, in which case we probably don't need to worry about a defense focus, or defense level selection box or building planet defenses in build slots or military slots at all.

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Ragnar
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#45 Post by Ragnar » Thu Apr 29, 2004 9:00 pm

drek wrote:
Ragnar wrote:And, what's the point of a primary focus on defense, what are you defending?
You'd be defending the other planets in the system, and other planets further down the starlanes. And not just from enemy invasion: I was imagining that defense would help out vs. spies, pirates, unrest, and maybe even natural disasters caused by random events.

Anyway, again ships should be the primary defense. If you want to defend an industrial world, stick some ships in that system.
Daveybaby wrote:
Its all a matter of trying to balance offensive and defensive capabilities so that people cant be overrrun too easily... but also cant turtle to the point where every game becomes a stalemate. System defences *can* be a vital component in achieving this balance, depending on the game mechanics (although with starlane only travel defense comes down to holding chokepoints thus planetary defences to hold your 2nd line planets arent as important as your 1st line defences cant be bypassed as easily).
I was thinking more along the lines of planetary defenses. It seems to me you could always go around planetary defenses, even with starlanes. Unless the tactical combat 'playing field' is so small that planetary missile base would cover it, you could just cruise around the periphery on to the next system or undefended planet. If not then you eliminate the ability to blockade a planet or system, unless it is completely undefended. I don't think we want to do that do we?

(A little bit of a tangent) I would like to see a large tactical combat 'playing field' that included starlane entry points and each planet. To attack the planets you would have to penetrate their defenses(missile bases, shields, ground batteries). The system could also be defended with minefields and space stations (orbitals or at the starlane entries) that you would have to deal with. Obviously fleets (local or interstellar) would be you best defense as they are mobile. Attackers would have to enter from the warp point and travel to the planet they want to attack or go around the planets to the next starlane, while contending with system defenses and fleets. (see my thread on Starlanes and tactical combat)

Now how to handle the system defenses: maybe once you build a minefield you go to the tactical screen to place it (permanently) with a minelayer before the combat phase of the turn. Could be complicated and memory intesive for the CPU to save all those minefield loactions. I haven't really thought through all of the means, just the ends. :D

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