Defining the Effects of Technology and Buildings

Past public reviews and discussions.
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Tyreth
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#16 Post by Tyreth » Mon May 31, 2004 6:53 am

drek wrote: Still don't like it. In my head the game is much easier for the player to parse if most (if not all) effects only add or subtract to the base meter, rather than to a multiplier.
Possibly, but how would you balance wonders/secrets? For example, the supercollider in SMAC doubled the RP at that base. If you made that as just an addition to a meter then it is only balanced for one point in the game. It is either too powerful before that, or quickly loses its value later in the game.

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haravikk
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#17 Post by haravikk » Mon May 31, 2004 6:03 pm

How would the meter be displayed? Surely if you have something that doubles an effect then you can simply have the lines measuring 'units' on the meter move closer together? Not that hard to understand, or having a meter with a visible upper limit which moves up to a maximum as additions/multiplies are put into effect? Also allows a graphical limit to be reached as far as the meter's effects can go.

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Krikkitone
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#18 Post by Krikkitone » Mon May 31, 2004 7:09 pm

I feel the easiest way to do multiplicative bonuses would be with an 'exponential' meter.

So you would have some thing like
Meter Value Bonus
0..........1..............0
1..........1.1..........10%
2..........1.21.........21%
3..........1.33.........33%
4..........1.46.........46%
5..........1.61.........61%
6...........1.77........77%
7...........1.94........94%
8...........2.14........114%
9............2.35.......135%
10...........2.59........159%

That way a player could easily see what the total effect was (-3 for my race +2 for my government +6 for technology)... that gives +5 on the meter [easy to do in a player's head], + 5 is a bonus of about 60% from what I would be without those things (determined by looking at a meter description).

This also has the advantage that Penalties don't accidentally start generating negatives (or zeros..I once had a feudal race on a High -G artifact world on MOO2... zero research from the double -50%)

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noelte
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#19 Post by noelte » Mon May 31, 2004 7:46 pm

I remember someone already suggested a meter which has his default value at 0. Doing so is quit natural. Leading to

-5...........0.39...........39%
-4...........0.54...........54%
-3...........0.67...........67%
-2...........0.79...........79%
-1...........0.9.............90%
+0...........1.............100%
+1..........1.1...........110%
+2..........1.21.........121%
+3..........1.33.........133%
+4..........1.46.........146%
+5..........1.61.........161%

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Drek's Suggestion

#20 Post by guiguibaah » Mon May 31, 2004 11:57 pm

I agree with Drek. Having multiple multipliers mean you may end up with some pretty strange fractions, like 132.554% or 8.23343 as opposed to 8.4112.

My suggestion, is if there are percentage multipliers, to keep them at 50% or 200%, so that players are (almost) always left with whole numbers since they are easier to conceptualize. At the very bottom, have quarters (25% or 75%).

If possible, just use addition, although it could get a little dull.
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Strange Numbers

#21 Post by dstjames » Tue Jun 01, 2004 1:42 pm

Why cant you just round them off? If the modifier gives you 8.4112 just round it down to 8.

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Aquitaine
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#22 Post by Aquitaine » Tue Jun 01, 2004 1:51 pm

Moved to game design thread so, er, I'll actually read it. :)
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Krikkitone
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#23 Post by Krikkitone » Tue Jun 01, 2004 7:22 pm

The other advantage of a multiplicative system is you can easily know the effect of any change

ie If I get a new tech that adds +2 to the meter, what does that do?
I currently have 2857 'output' (assuming 10% per level of meter)

Well the effect of +2 is +21% (so 21% more than I have now (no matter what value my meter is already at)..I can get this by looking at a generic meter display in the help or ''pedia or manual, or calculator, or just guessing for low values)
so ~570+ more 'output'

On the other hand for an additive, +2, 2857 'output' I need to know what value I am at already, recalculate the 'base value' (meter at 9 'base value' is ~1500, meter is at 4 'base value' is at ~2000)
so that +2 could mean ~+300 or ~+400 depending on what you were already at.


Also if 0 was the base value, you would want it Multiplicative all the way, so not

-5...........0.39...........39%
-4...........0.54...........54%
-3...........0.67...........67%
-2...........0.79...........79%
-1...........0.9.............90%
+0...........1.............100%
+1..........1.1...........110%
+2..........1.21.........121%
+3..........1.33.........133%
+4..........1.46.........146%
+5..........1.61.........161%

but
-5...........0.59...........59%
-4...........0.66...........66%
-3...........0.73...........73%
-2...........0.81...........81%
-1...........0.9.............90%
+0...........1.............100%
+1..........1.1...........110%
+2..........1.21.........121%
+3..........1.33.........133%
+4..........1.46.........146%
+5..........1.61.........161%

(which has the advantage that no matter how far negative the meter goes the output never actually reaches 0 (although it may be effectively 0 after a final rounding))

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#24 Post by PowerCrazy » Wed Jun 02, 2004 12:43 am

I don't think there is a reason to actually round the "funny" fractions at all. The player won't ever see the fraction all he'll see is +3 to research etc. If we have a SMAC governement screen for FO when the player discovers galactic cybernet he'll see that he has an effective +2 to his research and the calculations will use 121% at some calculation (assuming 0 initial research) All the player needs to know is +2 is "good" -2 is "bad" The actual numerical advantage isn't so important I'd think.
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Krikkitone
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#25 Post by Krikkitone » Wed Jun 02, 2004 3:17 am

well it Would be important for the player to see the 146.41% for example, but not in the ordinary course of the game.

In the ordinary course of the game, they would see the +4. The +4=146.41% would be in an in game encyclopedia, or the manual, or in some type of side box with the values of the meters.

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haravikk
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#26 Post by haravikk » Wed Jun 02, 2004 9:21 am

I agree that the percentage is important to have somewhere, perhaps in a tool-tip when hovering over a meter?
Some players may have '2' for research, and gain +2 and assume that this means their research is doubled in its effectiveness. However it may not increase that much at all so it may be important to know what this +2 means, most will settle for 'good' or 'bad' but if you're too vague then it an be confusing.

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#27 Post by drek » Wed Jun 02, 2004 11:40 am

Kirk/noelte's percentage thingies look good to me. Right now I'm imagining meter percentage*population*infrastructure=production.

The -5 to +5 meter is probably the way to go. Or maybe a -10 to 10 meter. Or -100 to +100. If meters are ranged from negative to positive, infrastructure itself obviously shouldn't be a meter--but that was starting to seem a poor idea anyway.

I would like to see -5 (or whatever the bottom is) be a 0 mutliplier. On a barren world with no buildings and focus set to something other than farming, food production really should be 0 regardless of population size.

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#28 Post by emrys » Wed Jun 02, 2004 1:19 pm

drek wrote:Kirk/noelte's percentage thingies look good to me. Right now I'm imagining meter percentage*population*infrastructure=production.

The -5 to +5 meter is probably the way to go. Or maybe a -10 to 10 meter. Or -100 to +100. If meters are ranged from negative to positive, infrastructure itself obviously shouldn't be a meter--but that was starting to seem a poor idea anyway.

I would like to see -5 (or whatever the bottom is) be a 0 mutliplier. On a barren world with no buildings and focus set to something other than farming, food production really should be 0 regardless of population size.
You could either set a minimum value to most things, below which you actually get zero output, or alternatively increase the multiplier for each step, so not *1.1 but *1.5 making -5 a factor of about 10% rather than 59% rather than, which means you get practically no output.

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Aquitaine
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#29 Post by Aquitaine » Wed Jun 02, 2004 2:29 pm

It should never be necessary for a player to deal with a number like 141.41, or 8.41743. Not in the game and not in the encycolpedia. I'd be willing to go as far as a 0.5 increment, but after that, you get into the realm of 'needing a computer to do the math' which runs afoul of KISS.

The important distinction is that we can have all the simple math we want, even such that it would take a person a heinously long time to run a turn. But a person should be able to easily do all the math involved. If you -need- a computer to actually do the calculations, then the player has much less of an idea what's happening, since (s)he is no longer anywhere near as able to figure out what's going on.
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#30 Post by emrys » Wed Jun 02, 2004 2:54 pm

Aquitaine wrote:It should never be necessary for a player to deal with a number like 141.41, or 8.41743. Not in the game and not in the encycolpedia. I'd be willing to go as far as a 0.5 increment, but after that, you get into the realm of 'needing a computer to do the math' which runs afoul of KISS.

The important distinction is that we can have all the simple math we want, even such that it would take a person a heinously long time to run a turn. But a person should be able to easily do all the math involved. If you -need- a computer to actually do the calculations, then the player has much less of an idea what's happening, since (s)he is no longer anywhere near as able to figure out what's going on.
Well, krikkitone's suggesting that we say +1 = a 10% improvement, and then apply that compound, so that the +1 that moves you from +8 to +9 is as big a deal (10% of what you got at +8 ) as the +1 that moves you from +1 to +2 (which is 10% of what you got at +1).

The way I see it, that simplifies the thinking a player must do, he knows what comparative effect bonuses and penalties have immediately, no matter what he's getting at the moment.

Compare that to the Civ approach where bonuses add linearly, e.g. I have four +10% bonuses, making +40%, so my 100 output world gives 140, if I get another 10% bonus I'd get 150, meaning it actually makes 7.14% difference, If I were a player I'd be pissed off, after all why has this 10% bonus only given me 150, not 154!. So to work out the value of any bonus to me, I'd need to know what the base value was, and how many other bonuses of what kind I'd got. Urrrghhh.

P.s. as a general point, I think there is a fundamental difference between "needing a calculator to do the maths correct to the third decimal place, but you can approximate it in your head" and "needing a computer to even get close".

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