Defining the Effects of Technology and Buildings

Past public reviews and discussions.
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noelte
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#31 Post by noelte » Wed Jun 02, 2004 3:07 pm

On the other hand it's also valid to define +1 as +10% and +5 as +50%. The player would know that he/she doesn't get the same boost when switching from 7to8 vs. 1to2. imo that's pretty ok.

It's also more natural that you get less for the same payment when you already have a high bonus.

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#32 Post by emrys » Wed Jun 02, 2004 3:48 pm

Krikkitone wrote:Except for in Civ3 ...

Marketplaces and Banks Both give +50% but building a Bank when you have a Marketplace only increases your income by 1/3

If you have a Library and a Univerity, the 'doubles research output' only increases it by 50% over what it was before (2x base v. 3x base)


Glad to see I'm not the only person who was annoyed by this in Civ. The biggest problem with linear bonuses is that it tends to lead people into writing misleading descriptions (e.g. "doubles research output" when it doesn't necessarily).

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haravikk
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#33 Post by haravikk » Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:30 pm

Just a note (and I may have missed this) but will meters be the only method of rating a planet? Personally I really like having things described by words. For example, a world with high monetary income could be described as 'Prosperous', a heavily populated world described as 'Swarming' and so on. I find this both more immersive, and also much easier to understand, especially for newer players as quite simply:
Good words = good things.
Now I realise that numbers are also fairly simple, but they can be confusing as it may not be certain what a positive number is doing for you and how good it makes the world. So what I'm thinking is an extremely simple addition to the meter system:
Named levels.
I can picture the planet screen as various info and options on one side, and perhaps in one corner a 'Statistics' box, this would have each category (Income, Industry etc) and each would then have the desciption word, and the meter (mb the description word on-top of the meter, or coloured based upon the position in the meter or such, that's not important). This way you can quickly see the status of the planet in easy-to-understand terms, but the mathematical meter itself is there to see if you need it as well.

For example:

Code: Select all

Growth:      Sparse         |--I-------|
Income:      Poverty        |-I--------|
Industry:    Busy           |----I-----|
Research:    Think-tank     |-------I--|
Morale:      Terrorism      |I---------|


Pretend it has icons and stuff :)

drek
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#34 Post by drek » Wed Jun 02, 2004 8:32 pm

Yea, I'd like to see descriptive words for each level of a meter.

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Ragnar
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#35 Post by Ragnar » Wed Jun 02, 2004 10:13 pm

Sounds like a winner. Can't imagine any opposition to this.

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PowerCrazy
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#36 Post by PowerCrazy » Wed Jun 02, 2004 10:44 pm

I'm starting to get a "bad vibe". What we have to describe each planet is this:

Population X/X
Infrastructure (0-100)
a meter for each resource
A Word description for each resource AND growth of pop.

While all those are necessary we need a good way to streamline them and present them in a way that is not overbearing to the player.
Aquitaine is my Hero.... ;)

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#37 Post by drek » Wed Jun 02, 2004 11:06 pm

For one thing, I'm wondering if population ought to be folded into infrastructure. (or the other way around)

Thinking about Aq's words on the subject. If meters were 0-10 (instead of -5 to +5) resource production could simply be infrapop * meter.

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Krikkitone
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#38 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:39 am

Well thats sort of what I'm proposing.

Infrastructures actually make the Resources
Population, Technology, and Focus (Unlimited Meter 1) puts alimit on how much Infrastructure You can have.
Environment, Government, and Others (Meter 2) determine how efficient the Infrastructure is.

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#39 Post by drek » Thu Jun 03, 2004 4:01 am

That's more complicated. You have three numbers for each type of resource: effiency, infra cap, and infra.

Perhaps something like this: infrastructure and population are the same number. Infrastructure caps the max value of resource meters. And additons to a meter beyond this infra cap are halved.

Code: Select all

Infrastructure: ******
Farming:        ***
Mining:         **
etc...


The dots above would be little pictures, food for farming, houses for infra, arranged on a grid. The max population/Infrastructure would be represented by little greyed out houses.

The value of the resource meter (determined by focus, technology, government, racial picks, buildings, whatever) is the number of resources generated per turn by that planet. If a planet has 10 in Farming, it generates 10 Nutrients per turn.

Example values applied to resource meters:

* Primary focus +3 to selected resource
* Balanced focus +1 to all
* Secondary focus +1 to selected resource
* Racial bonus +1 to empire wide meter
* Tech bonus +1 to empire wide meter
* -2 Industry on Heavy gravity worlds
* -4 Farming on worlds with terrible enviroments
* +2 Mining on worlds with some sort of "mineral" special

At higher levels, resource meters would also provide some other misc. benefits. For example, you might need a 10 in industry before buildings a shipyard. A +5 in Farming might make your citizens a wee bit Happier (cause farming is all peaceful and relaxing and crap, plus locally grown food doesn't have to be frozen for transit).

Or maybe you just get one bonus resource for every 5 levels on a meter. The idea is to provide a reward for syngery--you'd want to focus on mining on a world with a mineral special for example. In any case a tooltip would reveal the extra bonuses the higher meter levels are providing.

The Growth/Happiness/Spy/Security/combat meters would be -10 to +10, and use the scaling percentages noelte and kirk proposed.

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Krikkitone
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#40 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Jun 03, 2004 5:53 am

If Infrastructures=Population, then there is no point in having them separate, (which means that Infrastructure would have to grow and change in the exact same manner as Population, there would be no Infrastructure penalty for changing Foci, etc.)

Also your system would limit output to basically cap at population.

The problem is that it would be Far too simple.

That system is basically minimum of (population, Meter)=output

We could do that but it sacrifices a Vast array of possibilities (gradual, strategically costly change of Foci or introduction of technology or development of a world.)

I mean we should at least keep the system as basic as it currently is with population*Meter=output.
(of course the meter could stay multiplicative that way no place would make Negative Food)

The reason to have three numbers for each resource is to allow for some differentiation of effect, some things would Allow more investment in an area (New tech/Focus/more pop), some things would make that investment better (environment). Others could do either or both (race/Gov bonuses).

Yes this may seem complex, but leaving these things out does at least one of two things (if not both)
1. Eliminates Strategic Choices to make in the game. (after all since colonizing other planets is something you automatically want to do, we could have planets near your Imperial borders automatically colonize thus eliminating the need and expense of building colony ships... and to simplify the decision make all planets the same.)
2. Eliminates the ability to Balance Strategic Choices so that they remain strategic. (making sure that a Tech race's bonus doesn't overwhelm other bonuses takes careful attention to how a race pick affects the economic model v. how a Tech affects it.)

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#41 Post by drek » Thu Jun 03, 2004 7:58 am

Krikkitone wrote:If Infrastructures=Population, then there is no point in having them separate,


Correct. Population and infrastructure would be the exact same thing. Basically, we'd use population from v.2 but rename it "Infrastructure". Or not. The point is we don't need a new variable.

Also your system would limit output to basically cap at population.


If population*meter=resource, then output is already capped some multiple of population.

Anyway, you'll note that I said any bonuses beyond the infrastructure cap are halved before they are applied. (or quartered perhaps, not sure yet). So a new colony with infra of 1 and a +3 bonus in food would have: +1 food filling the cap. Then, then extra +2 is halved for a +1 bonus. In total the colony would have +2 Food.

Quartered might be a better idea, because the tech bonuses could get pretty extreme late game.


1. Eliminates Strategic Choices to make in the game. (after all since colonizing other planets is something you automatically want to do, we could have planets near your Imperial borders automatically colonize thus eliminating the need and expense of building colony ships... and to simplify the decision make all planets the same.)


Colonies have an upkeep expressed in terms of Nutrients. You wouldn't want to colonize every world, least you end up starving your people.

Perhaps each world (regardless of size) costs 10 Nutrients to maintain, plus 1 Nutrient for every point of Infrastructure. Or something like that.

If we continue to have population * meter = resource production, when will the player ever run out of food? How much food does each population unit consume under your model?

2. Eliminates the ability to Balance Strategic Choices so that they remain strategic. (making sure that a Tech race's bonus doesn't overwhelm other bonuses takes careful attention to how a race pick affects the economic model v. how a Tech affects it.)


It's easier to balance simpler systems.

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#42 Post by emrys » Thu Jun 03, 2004 8:16 am

drek wrote:It's easier to balance simpler systems.


Just a small point, although I agree it's easier to try and balance simpler systems than more complex ones, because there are less interactions to worry about, below a certain level of complexity, it can actually become impossible to balance because there just aren't enough interactions to do it with. Of course with a simple enough system you should realise quickly that it can't be done.

So although we should aim for simpler systems, avoiding unnecessary complexity, it's probably shouldn't be an overiding concern.

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haravikk
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#43 Post by haravikk » Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:08 pm

drek wrote:If we continue to have population * meter = resource production, when will the player ever run out of food? How much food does each population unit consume under your model?


I personally don't see where a problem lies here. If the meter is low (ie the modifier is less than 100%) then it is still possible to have less food than needed. Assuming that each population requires 1 unit of food, if your food meter is at 75% then only 3/4 of your population is being properly fed. If meters can also hit negative percentages then your pop could in fact be dying out in droves!

@Krikkitone
Similarly to this, isn't the whole idea of the meter to incorporate technological and building effects? When a tech is developed or a building constructed then it's bonus or penalty to a given meter is added to that meter's value for the rest of the game? So if you have a meter at 0 (100%) and develop hydroponic farms (+1 to food meter) then your meter's value becomes say, 110%, thus meaning that your population now produces excess food.

Also, for your costly change of Foci, all that has to be done is to have the change have some impact on the meter, and when it is done remove this impact to the meter. If you're talking about having the effect change as time goes by, I can see that it would cause a problem in this system, but you really have to ask, is it necessary to do this? A temporary modifier of ±1 is much easier for the player to understand than a changing percentage penalty or similar.

The population * meter = output idea seems to make perfect sense to me, and is extremely simple.

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#44 Post by drek » Thu Jun 03, 2004 2:11 pm

I believe Aq expressed reservations about using percentages, because it breaks the boardgame-ish nature of the game.

The idea behind (resource meters=resources produced per turn) is to cut down on the quanity of numbers that must be displayed and parsed by the player, in line with PC's observation. Plus I believe it would make the game much easier to balance.

So if you have a meter at 0 (100%) and develop hydroponic farms (+1 to food meter) then your meter's value becomes say, 110%, thus meaning that your population now produces excess food.


If by default (Farming level 0) worlds produce enough nutrients to feed their own population, then most worlds would be self-suffient. As soon as a single farming tech is researched, most worlds produce an excess. This is a major balancing problem...in v.2's design the same problem occurs.

Come to think of it, in my meters capped by infra idea from above, the opposite problem occurs. Most worlds wouldn't even get close to having enough food to feed their populations, assuming 1 infrapop unit requires 1 Nutrient per turn.

Another small note on balancing food: Rather than stockpiling food and directly feeding each population unit, Nutrients might be a vector divided by the total poplation of an empire to derive the base Health and/or Growth meter, further augmented by technology/buildings/specials. That way, there'd be a single place in the code to modify the ratio of Nutrients vs. Population required for a healthy empire.

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#45 Post by emrys » Thu Jun 03, 2004 3:48 pm

drek wrote:If by default (Farming level 0) worlds produce enough nutrients to feed their own population, then most worlds would be self-suffient. As soon as a single farming tech is researched, most worlds produce an excess. This is a major balancing problem...in v.2's design the same problem occurs.


Two ideas leap to mind, either make it so planets that aren't at least minor focussed on food don't produce enough food to be self-sufficient, or rely on poor food production from bad Environment worlds to produce non-self-sufficient worlds.

Question: Why do the v0.2 reqs specify the clearly unbalanced (and slighlty insane, surely if anything balanced should produce lower net output?)

Code: Select all

Primary   F M I R Total  
Balanced  3 3 3 3 12
Farming   6 1 1 1 9
Industry  1 1 6 1 9
Mining    1 6 1 1 9
Science   1 1 1 6 9
           
Secondary F M I R Total
Balanced  1 1 1 1 4 
Farming   2 0 0 0 2
Industry  0 0 2 0 2
Mining    0 2 0 0 2
Science   0 0 0 2 2
rather than something like

Code: Select all

Primary   F M I R Total  
Balanced  2 2 2 2 8
Farming   5 1 1 1 8
Industry  1 1 5 1 8
Mining    1 5 1 1 8
Science   1 1 1 5 8
           
Secondary F M I R Total
Balanced  1 1 1 1 4 
Farming   4 0 0 0 4
Industry  0 0 4 0 4
Mining    0 4 0 0 4
Science   0 0 0 4 4
and have 1 population eat 2 food (i.e. anything that isn't at least as foody as secondary balanced will run a shortfall)

or even

Code: Select all

Primary   F  M  I  R Total  
Balanced  2  2  2  2 8
Farming   10 0  0  0 10
Industry  0  0  10 0 10
Mining    0  10 0  0 10
Science   0  0  0 10 10
           
Secondary F M I R Total
Balanced  1 1 1 1 4 
Farming   5 0 0 0 5
Industry  0 0 5 0 5
Mining    0 5 0 0 5
Science   0 0 0 5 5
To produce a play off between specialisation for greater output and generalisation to avoid the risk of loosing key worlds.

And again need two food per pop unit (means you need more than one planet to effectively specialise (though that kind of makes sense on a planetary scale, if you everyone on the planet mines all day, where do you get bread?)

(and if we introduce money then perhaps:

Code: Select all

Primary   F M I R £ Total  or F  M  I  R  $  Total
Balanced  2 2 2 2 2 10        2  2  2  2  2  10
Farming   6 1 1 1 1 10        12 0  0  0  0  12 
Industry  1 1 6 1 1 10        0  0  12 0  0  12
Mining    1 6 1 1 1 10        0  12 0  0  0  12
Science   1 1 1 6 1 10        0  0  0  12 0  12
Money     1 1 1 1 6 10        0  0  0  0  12 12
           
Secondary F M I R $ Total  or F  M  I  R  £  Total
Balanced  1 1 1 1 1 5         1  1  1  1  1  5
Farming   5 0 0 0 0 5         6  0  0  0  0  6 
Industry  0 0 5 0 0 5         0  0  6  0  0  6
Mining    0 5 0 0 0 5         0  6  0  0  0  6
Science   0 0 0 5 0 5         0  0  0  6  0  6
Money     0 0 0 0 5 5         0  0  0  0  6  6

or similar)
p.s. I note it doesn't actually say that population consumes any food in the v0.2 spec, I presume this is an omission?

drek wrote:Another small note on balancing food: Rather than stockpiling food and directly feeding each population unit, Nutrients might be a vector divided by the total poplation of an empire to derive the base Health and/or Growth meter, further augmented by technology/buildings/specials.


Just to clarify, I'm not sure what you intended to convey by the use of vector here? (I read it as saying vector/scalar = scalar, which implies I must not be understanding.)

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