DESIGN: Buildings / Build Queues / Infrastructure

Past public reviews and discussions.
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Tyreth
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#346 Post by Tyreth » Fri Jul 02, 2004 4:37 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
vishnou00 wrote:It seems no argument got through to either side, only that people give up their position (even if it hasen't been demonstrated as wrong) because they are fed up.
I've basically conceded that the "no pooling, global queue" idea won't be accepted by the microphobes, no matter how much or well I or anyone else argues in favour of it. There are also enough of them that the "vote", were it taken, would be in their favour. Lastly, Aquatine seems to have been convinced, which seems to be pretty much the final word, unless almost everyone disagrees, which they don't.
We open up the design process of FreeOrion to the community because fresh ideas can be introduced, old ideas can be tested, and we can hopefully discover problems early. We are not required to, but it seems to be the best path.
While Aquitaine being convinced of a particular path may have a large influence on the game's direction, it is not the end of the discussion. He has proven himself on many occasions to be open to being persuaded to another point of view. Ultimately the game's direction rests on the shoulders of the team leaders, with myself giving the final say when necessary.
As it currently is, we have given these decisions up to you all in the community so that we are not totalitarian in spirit - this way we can listen to the wisdom of others, learn from our mistakes, and make a truly good game.

You are free to disagree with decisions that are made, either democratically or authoritatively by us heading up the project. The fact that you think that no amount of good arguments in favour of "no pooling, global queue" sounds like an indirect criticism of the leaders of this project and our processes. You are best to voice your frustration directly, and in the appropriate manner, possibly by politely PM'ing the appropriate people. In my experience, we have been open to changing our mind and considering different point of views.

We will be unafraid to override a democratic decision if we feel that leaving it will be to the detriment of the game, but this is not one of those situations. At every step there will be people that disagree, and we don't have the time or resources to argue forever. We need to make a decision and move on.
Geoff the Medio wrote: As such, I'm trying to find some fixes to the flaws in the pooled production system, which I think would make it work..
This is an excellent approach, and one which I think we should all adopt when (not if) a decision is made that we do not like.

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Geoff the Medio
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#347 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Jul 02, 2004 5:46 am

I appologize for the wording of my post. It came out a lot more bitter / resentful that I intended.

I agree with the philosophy by which the design of this project is being conducted.

I do think that the degree to which design decisions are being made to avoid any micromangement is a bit extreme. I do not, however, harbour any ill-will against Tyreth, Aquatine, drek or anyone else, be they afflicted with micromanagement-phobia or not.

I agree that Aquatine displays excellent judgement, though I was apparently somewhat incorrect in my belief regarding his and Tyreth's relative authorities. That said, in practice, it has seemed to me that convincing Aquatine is often sufficient to tip the balance towards one proposal over another. This is quite reasonable though, as his judgement seems quite good and fair, as Tyreth said.

I did not mean to directly or indirectly criticize in particular the leaders of the project by reference to the argument for "no pooling, global queue". Rather, this was an expression of frustration about the fact that those who I have called microphobes (project leads or not), have not "seen my position", despite, in my opinion, not having reason not to do so. I respect (though perhaps not enough) their opionions, though think them insuffiently supported (not necessarily wrong).

Again, sorry. Perhaps the inclusion of a smiley or two would have been wise. Mere text does not convey the attitude / emotion with which I intended to write. Reading the post with an "oh well, what can you do? ... *shrug*" attitude in mind help convey what I meant.

Edit: regarding vishnou00's comments below: I do find a tendency to ignore arguments by some who disagree with them. In some cases I've had to repeat things 3 times before they were noticed, and then declared good points worth considering. I generally attribute this to my over-long rambling posts, though there is also an apparent degree of "cronyism" as well. This is perhaps unintentional, as people naturally pay attention to those they already know and respect, though it can be frustrating for new people. "Knighted" contributors may want to keep this in mind.
Last edited by Geoff the Medio on Fri Jul 02, 2004 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#348 Post by vishnou00 » Fri Jul 02, 2004 5:51 am

Tyreth wrote:The fact that you think that no amount of good arguments in favour of "no pooling, global queue"
It's not what I think. My problem is that no amount of good arguments against my position is done. All the arguments in favour of others idea will do is eventually make me believe it is possible, but it won't convince me my ideas are not better.

Nobody cares to point out the flaws of my design, they simply ignore it, or voice superficial comment like "too complicated/not KISS" "based on realism", that usualy show that they don't read it. The best one is "it require macro tools, macro tools have been proven impossible in the old forum, hence it is impossible".

If I don't comment on an aspect, it's because I either don't care, I trust the one managing it or I find it perfectly reasonable. I assume others are using roughly similar principles, so when they just ignore my idea and go on with their that is the opposite, they show that: they care about that aspect, they don't agree with me and they don't consider my idea worth commenting.

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#349 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Jul 02, 2004 6:09 am

drek wrote:Building a shipyard next to an enemy border is asking for trouble, as he could steal it through conquest. The only sane place to build such a valuable commodity would be in a well defended section of your empire.
That's the main flaw! If a shipyard waaaaay far away next to an enemy empire is just as effective as one in your core, then really, the waaaaay far away shipyard is just as well defended as the one in the core. You can build a whole empire's production worth of ships there. Yes, it will take a while to set up, but once it is, there's no easy solution. And if, as you say, shipyards can be captured, that makes things even worse! You could capture a shipyard in enemy territory, and then spend your whole empire's production right there. You'd only need to defend it for the turns necessary to get some quick-build ships out, and then you've got a huge load of easy reinforcements, and more coming right after, with no transit time.
Just like building rushes in Starcraft and C&C, if the enemy is dumb enough to let you build and keep a shipyard next door, he gets what he deserves: a neverending fleet at his front door.
If you build a single barracks near the enemy in Starcraft, you can't output every single known unit with the speed of every unit-building structure simultaneously, all outputing at one point. (Though perhaps you could in C&C, indedentally)
The shipyard arguement won't start in earnest until v.4. Until then, I wouldn't worry so much about it.
Then I'd have to start the argument all over... I feel like there's sufficient history / momentum in this one to follow it to it's conclusion... and hopefully to identify the single dividing issue that can't be argued, or to convince you / others or be convinced myself. For example, the idea to make all equal-tech ships have the same cost was a good one... it at least partly dealt with the other issue. Perhaps something similar will be suggested for this.

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#350 Post by drek » Fri Jul 02, 2004 6:51 am

vishnou00:
it require macro tools, macro tools have been proven impossible in the old forum, hence it is impossible
That sounds like something I would say.

Forgive my terseness on the subject, but the debate over macro tools raged for monthes. I'm not eager to rehash it. I wish I could just point to the postings on the old board, but it's just not possible.

The core of the arguement is that macro tools have never worked before in any other strat game, so there's no reason to suspect that we'll be able to make 'em work in FO. Beyond that, there's OceanMachine's excellent anaylsis on why macro tools tend not to work. Duplicating that work would take pages and in the end I doubt I'd be able to convince you anyway.

geoff:
I appologize for the wording of my post. It came out a lot more bitter / resentful that I intended.
I don't think you have anything to apologize for.
That's the main flaw! If a shipyard waaaaay far away next to an enemy empire is just as effective as one in your core, then really, the waaaaay far away shipyard is just as well defended as the one in the core. You can build a whole empire's production worth of ships there.
That's not a bad point at all.

By defense I was thinking Wonders and semi-wonders providing uber-security. (though we'll then have to have wonder-buster attack methods, otherwise everyone will just end up turtling.)

There are ways of solving this problem. Something like summoning sickness for starters: ships that are fresh out of the shipyard require time (and possibly proximity to leaders/wonders) to gain full strength. In the meantime, they are sitting ducks. There could even be some "artillery" pieces that fire down starlanes, or some wide-ranged beam weapons that hit every ship. The idea is to make it so you wouldn't want the sitting ducks next to the enemy.

edit: It just occured to me that we could have the half-constructed ships out there in space. So if you enter into combat in a system with a shipyard, all the half-built ships will be out there waiting to die. Hrm, that sounds pretty cool. You'd raid the shipyard system with fast ships, fly right past the operational ships and hit the ships still in queue.

The reason why I'm not liking shipyards having a max capacity is that it means the player will have to balance # of shipyards with PPs generated (which is itself a balance between industry and minerals). It seems like a pain the arse to me. Possibly, I'm just lazy :P.

Consider multiple shipyards with a rally point near an enemy border: If the player is continously pumping out ships, a steady stream of ships will be at that rally point anyway, almost as if he had an infinite capacity shipyard there--just a few turns tacked on to the "build time" to accomidate travel.

And if plans should change (the enemy takes over the rally point) the player then has worry about that steady stream of ships flying to their death. He'll have to cancel the movement orders on all those ships (assuming, in a crowded galaxy, that he can even figure out which ships are headed to the rally point of doom).

You have identified some real problems with the global pool and infinite capacity shipyards....just so far I'm liking the alternative less.

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#351 Post by PowerCrazy » Fri Jul 02, 2004 7:39 am

Drek: I usually agree with what you say, however you are advocating a HUGE imbalancing issue.

Infinite production at a single point? Damn, that ruins everything. Have you ever played those starcraft maps called Zergling Blood?

Basically you had a bunker and zerglings kept being produced there and you would send them at the other players en masse. The strategy was nil. It was fun don't get me wrong, but that is not how i want FO to be.

There HAS to be a limit, what the limit is i'm not sure of, but unlimited is NOT an option.
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#352 Post by noelte » Fri Jul 02, 2004 8:10 am

drek wrote:vishnou00:
it require macro tools, macro tools have been proven impossible in the old forum, hence it is impossible
That sounds like something I would say.

Forgive my terseness on the subject, but the debate over macro tools raged for monthes. I'm not eager to rehash it. I wish I could just point to the postings on the old board, but it's just not possible.
Forgive me, but if i would say "Sometime ago i saw a prove that macro tools work greatly, but i don't remember where." You also would get a bad feeling about having to take something as an fact in which you don't believe and can't follow/reread the arguments. Speaking about something as an law without a prove is really bad. I also think there are macro tool with different degree's of complexity. I also wouldn't let some macrotool handle my empire, but some minor things could be handed over. For instance in early game i care about anything but in mid/late game i don't.

As i'm not the only one which is concerned about that issue, it would be nice if someone could try to summerize the lost arguments. I would really like to see it even if that would mean risking the same debate again. If that happen (i believe so) everyone who joins later can reread it and get the idea

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#353 Post by Tyreth » Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:28 am

Thanks for your understanding, Geoff. Reading your post with the attitude you mentioned made a lot more sense. I was feeling that there was a bit of unhappiness from you and vishnou00 that I thought was worth addressing now.
noelte wrote:I also think there are macro tool with different degree's of complexity.
Regarding macro tools, here is why I don't like them:
1. A macro tool is built to automate repetitive tasks
2. Often, a macro tool is not possible to tweak to a state where it always makes the best 'decisions'
Therefore,
3. When a macro tool will not make the best decision, you would gain more advantage by not using it
Therefore,
4. When you play a multiplayer game, you will need to not use macro tools in these situations in order to remain competitive with other players
Therefore,
5. When a macro tool cannot make the best situation, you again have the problem of repetitive tasks needing to be done by hand

For those situatations where macro tools can make the best decisions:
1. A macro tool is built to automate repetitive tasks
2. Sometimes, a macro tool can be tweaked to always make the best 'decision'
Therefore,
3. The best decision can be managed by a simple tool

If a simple tool can manage the best decision, then why give the choice in the first place? When a macro tool cannot choose best all the time, then we'd prefer to not use it. If it can be trusted to be good all the time, then why give the decision to the player in the first place? We may as well remove these decisions and give the players real choices that don't slow down their playing of the game.

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Geoff the Medio
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#354 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:32 am

drek wrote:summoning sickness for starters: ships that are fresh out of the shipyard require time (and possibly proximity to leaders/wonders) to gain full strength.
-Proximity to leaders might lead to too much micro, shuffling around your leaders to get ships running ok
-Would be really annoying to always have to wait to use your shiny new ships
There could even be some "artillery" pieces that fire down starlanes
This in particular, but also regular attacks, wouldn't help if you captured the shipyard, then put your fleet in the *next* system, to block access to the shipyard. The new ships could get all de-summon-sickened while protected by distance from harm. Unless your artillery can fire along two or more starlanes, then that doesn't work, and having partly complete ships show up in battle won't matter if the battle is in the next system over.

Shipyards, and partially completed ships in them are still a cool idea though.
the player will have to balance # of shipyards with PPs generated
Remember that I was suggestiong shipyards have "levels" so that it's more efficient to enhance a shipyard, allowing it spend more (and make higher tech stuff) than it is to make another low-tech, low-capacity shipyard nearby. The point is that you can't do this with your far-off shipyard... Though, this would somewhat recreate the issue of captured shipyards being a problem, so maybe that's not such a good idea... unless captured shipyards are reduced to low-tech.
Consider multiple shipyards with a rally point near an enemy border:
Consider that multiple shipyards is a lot harder to make than a single shipyard. I don't have a problem with many shipyards, outputting lots of ships. It's only when a single shipyard can do so that the problems arise.
And if plans should change (the enemy takes over the rally point) the player then has worry about that steady stream of ships flying to their death. He'll have to cancel the movement orders on all those ships (assuming, in a crowded galaxy, that he can even figure out which ships are headed to the rally point of doom).
A rally point that is destroyed could easily pop up a sitrep notice that allows you to specify a new rally point for that order of ships or for those shipyards. I don't want to get into this argument again here, but you've got to admit that macro tools can do some things for you...

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#355 Post by drek » Fri Jul 02, 2004 11:13 am

Some good points Geoff.

The notion of a destoyable rally point never occured to me; solves a few of the issues I had. Would have been nice to have something like it in Starcraft and other RTSes.

I am starting to rethink my stance. Not certain how shipyards should work, but I am starting to see how the UI for limited capacity shipyards might look.

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#356 Post by tzlaine » Fri Jul 02, 2004 4:21 pm

I'm totally against infinite-capacity shipyards as well. If that was a major reason for your not liking the pooling idea Geoff, it went right past me, specifically because I hadn't considered it to be on the table. I was conceptualizing sihpyards as having a certain capacity, being upgradable, etc., sort of like they were originally proposed in brainstorming somewhere. I don't want to open up the entire discussion on this now, mainly because there's going to be a lot involved in v0.3 already. I'm just saying this to allay any concerns about this infinite capacity issue, because I also don't think I've ever seen anyone propose infinite-capacity for shipyards.

As a side note, you should all know that getting v0.3 fully defined should be priority #1 right now; for the first time, the programmers are about to move ahead of the design team. At this rate, when we finish v0.2 "soon", we won't have anything to work on for v0.3. We are sure to have some bug reports to deal with after the v0.2 release, but I'm a little concerned about what we can do after that. I'm saying this because, as Aquitaine pointed out to me recently, sometimes a little pressure is a good thing. :)

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#357 Post by Aquitaine » Fri Jul 02, 2004 5:43 pm

Tyreth covered all the bases, but I'll add my two bits.

There is a fallacy of circular reasoning in assuming that convincing me is all it takes. Because no matter which side of an issue I fall on, the other side can always point to my preference and say 'well that's all it took.' In this particular case, I did not get involved at all until the -second- public review of the subject specifically because it was so complex and because I felt a need to come in with an impartial angle. I think Tyreth did the same thing (as he usually does). My only other option is to never have a preference, and that excises the fun part of my job -- having a creative vision of the game -- and leaves me as Official Forum Policeman, and frankly, I'd rather be at the dentist...

Also, regarding authoritarianism, Tyreth and I have done the dance of 'exactly how do we make final decisions' for some time now. We have reserved the right to veto certain things, but only after discussion with the team leaders (those being tzlaine, miu, LithiumMongoose, Tyreth, and myself), and only in a case where we feel that the regular process was somehow abused. It is worth mentioning that we have never done this and I expect we never will, unless we make Slashdot at an inopportune time and get hordes of l33t wannabe game developers in here.

It's also worth mentioning that, in the past, we have had some less-than-cooperative people on these forums, and that's why I am loathe to simply say 'and lo, FreeOrion shall always respond to the will of the masses,' since the group of active participants changes so frequently (see also: Nightfish), and because, unlike the programing, art, or FX/music teams, there is no entry requirement to contribute to the design process. I would consider myself delinquent if I did not somehow reserve the authority to moderate the flow of ideas from the unwashed masses to to the developers, who are -- appropriately -- fairly impatient with ideas and concepts that have not yet had holes poked in them as best we can.

Finally, the cornerstone of this project is our ability to have these discussions, these debates, without getting so personally inovlved that it gets ugly. I don't think that has happened this time. I appreciate the frustration of feeling isolated in support of what seems to you the best road, and all I can say is that I have shared it; I disagree with drek, tzlaine, and others on a regular basis, but I have come around to their views as often as they have come around to mine or someone else's. That's why I value every member of this community who participates in these often-verbose debates, regardless of how many times or how often their ideas actually make it to the design document.

As designers, our job is to create and to attack (WHEN DESIGNERS ATTACK, film at 11). It is our ability to entertain what amounts to endless criticism of our work and to mold that criticism into a better game that separates us from the hordes of Internet game-developer wannabes. Inasmuch as anyone may think it a mark of success to get something of theirs into the design docs, I think it's as much of a success to keep something out of the design docs!

The only other thing I'd like to say about this issue specifically is that I think everyone is making assumptions about how ships and combat will work. This is premature. Just from the preliminary discussions we've had about the subject in the past, I don't think our space combat engine will resemble any existing MOO engine.

rock on,
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Last edited by Aquitaine on Fri Jul 02, 2004 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#358 Post by Krikkitone » Fri Jul 02, 2004 5:45 pm

tzlaine, BTW you said you were against production used for Infrastructure any coding/UI reasons for that? or just the gameplay/balance/complexity.

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#359 Post by tzlaine » Fri Jul 02, 2004 6:55 pm

Krikkitone wrote:tzlaine, BTW you said you were against production used for Infrastructure any coding/UI reasons for that? or just the gameplay/balance/complexity.
No coding issues on that one; I just really like the idea of Infrastructure more-or-less taking care of itself, with minimal user inputs, like focus switching.

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#360 Post by tzlaine » Fri Jul 02, 2004 6:58 pm

Krikkitone wrote:tzlaine, BTW you said you were against production used for Infrastructure any coding/UI reasons for that? or just the gameplay/balance/complexity.
No coding issues on that one; I just really like the idea of Infrastructure more-or-less taking care of itself, with minimal user inputs, like focus switching.

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