Quick Feature: Infrastructure

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Krikkitone
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#31 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Jul 01, 2004 5:25 am

I think the Main thing we need to have in the Infrastructure model is economic growth as a choice with a significant and Graduated cost. In almost all empire builder games there is a cost associated with building up a world/city other than just time.
By having an Imperial level queue where "Infrastructure" is given a priority level and 5 generic Infrastructures, we can allow a player to easily strategically prioritize something that most games have but in a minimized sense (Civ 3 at least finally made its factories almost expensive enough to almost care about)

However, if the primary method of prioritizing improving your economy is by getting the right arrangement of Leaders and Wonders, then it makes that part of the game too much like an RPG/Card game... making it something you Have to pay complicated attention to as opposed to Simply being able to 'say' "I want to spend more on my economy, ie the future" v. "I need A + B, ie things of significant short term importance, now I'll put the economy on the back burner"


Ok, a number of subissues

1. Foci Switches.

I would actually assume Foci switches would happen fairly often. (on an Imperial level at least)

First of all Foci switching is the Only way to affect your relative output of the 5 resources.. Too few minerals so switch a few worlds towards more of a Mining focus + away from useless Industry.... 20 turns later you have an excess due to developing Ultra-rich worlds start switching some away from Mining.... 4 turns later need more Research switch some worlds to that....10 turns later now I need to apply those techs got a war going on switch some planets to Industry away from Research..... 3 turns later I've conquered new planets have to put down the rebellions switch to Money.

Now there does need to be a cost, but a sudden jerk cost is inappropriate I think

Second a sudden jerk in output for Foci is negligible when you have 100s of planets but Not when you have 1 or a few (beginning of the game).

Also the idea is in my system Changing Focus would be Exactly the same as building Infrastructure... You are building more of the type of Infrastructure you need (excess Infrastructure gets scrapped as it becomes excess)


2. Infrastructure in the build queue

I'm suggesting "Improve Imperial Infrastructure" as a Single (ie one not like the dozen different ships/buildings projects that will be in there amd changed every 5 turns) in the Imperial build queue that allows the player to determine how important developing their economy is to them..... (if it expensive enough to build the economy it becomes a non automatic decision.)
This one queue item would then have other Items placed ahead of it or behind it (since it would always be hanging around because there is always the possibility that more infrastructure would need to be built.)

Essentially the queues and Foci are used to handle all Major non-fleet movement/diplomacy player decisions. You want X to get a higher priority, move it higher on its appropriate queue and/or change Focus Towards the resources that are important for it.

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#32 Post by drek » Thu Jul 01, 2004 6:09 am

Krikkitone wrote: However, if the primary method of prioritizing improving your economy is by getting the right arrangement of Leaders and Wonders, then it makes that part of the game too much like an RPG/Card game...
That is entirely intentional, at least on my part.

If we are to divorce ourselves somewhat from the old moo2/civ mircohell of mid to late game, we need a new model: preferrably one that been playtested already. I've been using the model of a Magic: TG type card game, because we know it works.

If you want to spend resources on your economy: terraform something, build a structure, or go colonize a planet. In each case you are sacrificing resources that could have gone to military production for economic production.

Do we really need more widgets beyond the ones I just listed? If it's SimGalaxy, obviously yes. If it's a game, then probably no.

Anyway, you'll note in my last posting I spelled out a gradual infra-building method that I'd find acceptable. Beyond syntax changes, the big change is that if max meter is lower than current meter, the current meter is instanstly adusted downwards.

In case you are wondering why: if Wonder X is providing +2 to the Max Meter of planet Y, and the Wonder is destroyed, the change should occur instantly.

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#33 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Jul 01, 2004 6:42 am

drek wrote: If we are to divorce ourselves somewhat from the old moo2/civ mircohell of mid to late game, we need a new model: preferrably one that been playtested already. I've been using the model of a Magic: TG type card game, because we know it works.

If you want to spend resources on your economy: terraform something, build a structure, or go colonize a planet. In each case you are sacrificing resources that could have gone to military production for economic production.
Well for a good model of minimized (albeit some still there) microhell I'd suggest something like the Tax settings on those type of games

The point is the adjustment gave a good general setting for the whole empire.

That is what I suggest, Magic is a good game but MOO3's failure was partly based on that game within a game approach... the Overall economy is One part of the game with a single decision to make (how important is this) it should not be a game in itself

Terraforming, Colonizing, Buildings, etc. are micromanagy ways to expand the economy. They are highly specific as opposed to generalized.


I could probably see your Transition Idea working,

The two changes I would make
The Construction Meter/accumulator requires Imperial Industry in improving those meters. (of course I would favor a more granular range than 0 to 10.. but that is more of a balancing issue)

I also might simplify it...instead of Current Meter * Population=Output
Current Meter->Output (probably on some exponential function)
and Population then influences the Max Meter
Pop Max Meter Effect
1..............+0
2-3...........+1
4-7...........+2
8-15..........+3
16-30.........+4

That way population changes work on the Max rather than the current output. (so that babies are born "factories not included")

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#34 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Jul 01, 2004 6:57 am

drek wrote:There is no secondary balanced focus.

Balanced primary would grant +1 to all resources. Probably the base specialized bonus should be bumped up to +3 to compensate.
I just want to make sure that I understand correctly in my belief that +3 isn't necessarily 3 times better than +1. As long as each additional + is greater than the one before, what I quoted is fine. If all +'s are equal though, then you get a total of +4 for balanced, but only +3 for specialized, which seems like it might be wrong...

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#35 Post by drek » Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:06 am

The Construction Meter/accumulator requires Imperial Industry in improving those meters. (of course I would favor a more granular range than 0 to 10.. but that is more of a balancing issue)
Hrm. That would involve a slider or a slider diguised as a queue item. It opens another can of worms as well: what if I want Planet Y to recieve resources, but not Planet X?

Infrastruture was never meant to be the result of economic investment. It's just a gauge of how long a planet has been in the empire and a number to guage the effects of tradegies.

Economic investment comes from researching economic techs, Build Projects, building colony ships.
I also might simplify it...instead of Current Meter * Population=Output
Current Meter->Output (probably on some exponential function)
and Population then influences the Max Meter
Pop Max Meter Effect
1..............+0
2-3...........+1
4-7...........+2
8-15..........+3
16-30.........+4
I had the same idea while back. Meter=Output is very appealing to me.

Problem is each unit of population eats Nutrients. So each population unit in the middle of those ranges is munching food without giving anything back to the empire.

It's something I'd like to see in the game, but right now I can't think of a good way of doing it.
Last edited by drek on Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#36 Post by drek » Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:12 am

I just want to make sure that I understand correctly in my belief that +3 isn't necessarily 3 times better than +1. As long as each additional + is greater than the one before, what I quoted is fine. If all +'s are equal though, then you get a total of +4 for balanced, but only +3 for specialized, which seems like it might be wrong...
Actually, you get a total of +5 if you add in the Money resource.

Balance was unbalanced in v.2 as well.

Specialized foci will recieve tech bonuses and bonuses from nearby semi-wonders.

So if you aren't planning on buildings any resourcing wonders or researching any resource techs, setting all planets to balanced would be the best way to go. I'm okay with this.

Setting planets to balanced at the beginning of the game and later taking a hit when you switch foci to take advantage of techs seems fine too. You'd be sacrificing long-term gain for short-term gain.

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#37 Post by vishnou00 » Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:24 am

I just skimmed through the thread and saw points that I agree and others I don't, so before reacting specifically to others' posts, I'll expose my model:

First, infrastructure are generic buildings, akin to Stars! mines, defences and factories. It is a number, you can have more or less. It has a large dynamic range (nascent world would have the hundreds (200-300) infra buildings and very mature one would be in tens of thousands (20000-30000)). These numbers could be presented in other ways, as a ratio of occupation and a master indicator for the planet's infra development.

This granularity may appear spreadsheety, but it would be trivial to categorize world development with more descriptive expressions (nascent, core, mature, ruin).

The use of a lot of number instead of only descriptive expressions make it clear what a nascent (for example) world is gamewise to one who wants to understand the game mechanics. You can predict its behaviour and capacity without actually being in the developers head. I think gameplay balanced through artificial formulae and a lot of unique categories always tends to have this problem.

They don't suffer micromanagement because you don't order their production directly. They are automatically built in proportion to the foci choosen. The development speed of a world would be controlled by a linear setting ("empire production" <---> "world development"). Also, the very fine granularity (less than 1%) don't encourage micromanagement of foci, as there is no significant steps (possible waste) between a very loosly managed and very thightly micromanaged world. Again, your control over infrastructure is simple (3 settings), yet powerful (2 levels of 5 foci leads to 25 "type" of world, infrastructure investment meter adds another degree of freedom).

Beside development, infrastructure has several parameters:
-maximum used
-maximum built
-efficiency
-costs
-decay

Maximum used:
The maximum used infrastructure is dependant on the population. For specific type of infrastructure it is governed by the foci of the planet and tech. Tech could influence population efficiency for certain type of infrastructure (ex: Systemic Robotics tech could augment the number of factory used by a population unit, as population would command robots instead of machinery)

Maximum built:
Maximum built infrastructure is dependant only on tech and planet size. This parameter would be used in the case a planet has nothing to produce, has its population fully occupied and won't stockpile workforce (maybe because it isn't in the game design). Instead of doing absolutely nothing, it would build infrastructure for a possible augmentation of population.

Efficiency:
Infrastructure efficiency is the output of each infrastructure building. It would be tech dependant and would reflect change in the way of working that doesn't require infrastrutural investment, like "Holy Miracle Fertilizers" that would heighten the output of farm without requiring investment (only using the new miracle fert formula).

Costs:
The buildings themselves would be built using the output of their respective focus, with maybe others. As others (drek comes to mind) pointed out, it is divorcing infrastructure from industry. Tech could influence each cost, lowering (effect of miniaturization?) or rising (to balance better efficiency) it.

Decay:
Unused infrastructure buildings would decay when not being used.



The cost of building and unlikelyness to overdevelop a world (because of decay) would lead to an interesting lag/cost associated with changing focus. The decay would allow to quickly change back to a focus already developed in the past at a lesser cost than a never developed focus. The high dynamic range of number of infrastructure model the various state of development of a world. The decay model the process of a world crumbling in ruin, where population is in too few number to tend to the unused installations.

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#38 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:27 am

drek: I'll quote your proposal, and comment or suggest changes...
For each of the resource types, there is a Max Meter and Current Meter. Effects from technologies, buildings, racial picks, events, other meters etc. are applied to the Max Meter. The exception is destructive events: for example, earthquakes, riots, and enemy bombing act on the Current Meters.
No objections
After all Effects have been applied to the Max Resource Meters, they are normalized to the range of 0 to 10.
I'm not sure what you meant by this. Do you mean the sum of all the resource meters for the planet, after normalization, is 10? Or do you mean that the maximum possible rating in the game for a particular planet is calculated, and then the current rating is divided by that, and the quotient multiplied by 10, so the range always falls into 0 to 10? Why would you do either of these? It seems simpler to just allow the meters to go as high as the set of possible bonuses allows.
New colonies start with all Current Meters set to 0.
I'd start all meters, or at least food and production, at 1. If not, you'd need some food stockpiles sent with the colony ship... (could work as well)
Each turn, if a Current Resource Meter is greater than it's associated Max Meter, the Current Meter is reduced to match the Max Meter.

Each turn, the value of the Construction meter is added to an accumlator. If this accumlator is greater than 10, Current Meter with the greatest difference between it's associated Max Meter is incremented by 1 and the accumlator is reset to 0. (If there is a tie, the meter with Primary Focus is chosen, otherwise the tie is resolved randomly.)
This would nicely tie in the transition period and a penalty for switching that depends on how different your old and new focus settings are. If you go from 1/1/1/7 meters to 1/6/2/1 meters, you'd be at 1/1/1/1 immediately after the swtich, and would slowly build up towards 1/6/2/1. This is a good solution.
One addition I suggest considering, but don't expect you'll like, is that going from meter levels 1 to 2 requires the construction accumulator to reach 10, but going from 2 to 3 requies the accumulator to reach 20 (and so on). This is just like population growth in SMAC. It weights the delay more heavily on transitions between very different specialized focuses.
If a Build Project (including Terraforming) is currently in progress on a planet, the Construction meter is not applied to the accumlator. Build Projects halt all construction on infrastructure.
This is fine... though unless there's a longer delay as described above for building the infrastructure for larger meter levels, it seems that you might run out of stuff to build fairly quickly. (I guess pooled PP would alleviate this issue)
The Current Resource Meters are multiplied with population to determine the quanity of each resource produced by the planet. If there is a Build Project in process on a world, the number of resources produced is reduced by half.
That's a bit arbitrary... why not have build projects require x/y/z/w food/minerals/reserach/production per turn for N turns? Everything always requiring half of all produced resources, independent of what it is or how many resources are being made, seems odd...
On the Sidebar UI, each resource meter should be represented by:
a: Filled in boxes or icons for each point in the Current Meter
b: Greyed out boxes or icons for each point of the Max Meter above the Current Meter's value.
c: A numeric and/or iconic display of the total resources produced by the planet.
d: An indication of which resouce meter is enjoying the benefits of the Primary and Secondary Foci. (Player should be able to maniplute this indication to change the Focus of the world.)
You don't like my mockup border thing? Ah well, not a big issue.

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#39 Post by PowerCrazy » Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:38 am

The reason for having a percentage is that way it is easy to tell if I have a fully developed planet or not. It really doesn't matter as we could have a 150/200 = 75% Both are equivalent.

Drek: Increasing total infrastructure would be just one form of technological innovation. We oculd have all kinds of other methods for allowing technology to affect our planets. (Your meters seem good for that)

Also I'm seeing meters as having an overall multiplicative affect on the planet. Not defining the planet. Thus if I have a 100% infra planet but have only a +2 production meter, I'm going to produce less then the same planet with a +3 production meter. So while both the meter and the infrastructure elvel affect total output of a planet, they will be independent of each other.
Aquitaine is my Hero.... ;)

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#40 Post by vishnou00 » Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:42 am

PowerCrazy wrote:The reason for having a percentage is that way it is easy to tell if I have a fully developed planet or not. It really doesn't matter as we could have a 150/200 = 75% Both are equivalent.
That is exactly what I said:
vishnou00 wrote:These numbers could be presented in other ways, as a ratio of occupation and a master indicator for the planet's infra development.
...

I admit you said it better, with a better example.
But for the record, don't (not just PC) let the presentation get in the way of an game design idea.

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#41 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:43 am

PowerCrazy wrote:we could have a 150/200 = 75% Both are equivalent.
Except that it's much clearer what's happened if you go from 150/150 to 150/200 than 100% to 75%. I think we agree, mostly.

~~~~~~

What's the need for this generalized infrastructure rating / meter / level? I think the meters, as described by drek, take care of "infrastructure" themselves. (to me, "infrastructure" = farms/mines/factories/labs... ie. stuff that produces resources)

What role does another separate infrastructure level / meter play?

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#42 Post by drek » Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:55 am

[I'm not sure what you meant by this. Do you mean the sum of all the resource meters for the planet, after normalization, is 10?
It means:

if Max_RMeter is less than 0 then Max_RMeter=0

if Max_RMeter is greater than 10 then Max_RMeter=10

The first statement is obviously not open to debate. The max value of meters is. My concerns are twinfold: simplifing UI design, and ensuring that no matter how many bonuses an item has, it never gets "out of hand". If population is added to max meters rather than multipled to the current meters, then the upper ranged might have to be increased or uncapped.
New colonies start with all Current Meters set to 0.
The idea is that if a player sends out a bunch of colony ships, he's screwed. It's a gameplay thing to control the number of new colonies (esp. early game).
One addition I suggest considering, but don't expect you'll like, is that going from meter levels 1 to 2 requires the construction accumulator to reach 10, but going from 2 to 3 requies the accumulator to reach 20 (and so on). This is just like population growth in SMAC. It weights the delay more heavily on transitions between very different specialized focuses.
I don't mind this, but I wouldn't make the jump so extreme. Doubling seems a bit much to me. No idea if it's the "right' thing to do or not.


That's a bit arbitrary... why not have build projects require x/y/z/w food/minerals/reserach/production per turn for N turns? Everything always requiring half of all produced resources, independent of what it is or how many resources are being made, seems odd...
True dat.

I was assuming the PP per turn would come from the empire pool. This is an additional tax, though perhaps an overly harsh one for developed planets. In retrospect seems like a bad idea.
You don't like my mockup border thing? Ah well, not a big issue.
Your mock up border thing would met most of those requirements.
Except that it's much clearer what's happened if you go from 150/150 to 150/200 than 100% to 75%.
I agree. With either a tag (Nascent, etc) or a visual representation (your mock up) it's much clearer what the situation is than a simple percentage.

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#43 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Jul 01, 2004 8:14 am

drek wrote:My concerns are twinfold: simplifing UI design, and ensuring that no matter how many bonuses an item has, it never gets "out of hand".
Ok.. makes sense... I don't imagine it'd be a huge problem if meters could go up arbitrarily, as there would be built in limits due to there only being so many ways to add to a meter, but if it's big concern of yours, I won't complain.
If population is added to max meters rather than multipled to the current meters, then the upper ranged might have to be increased or uncapped.
... I didn't suggest that, did I? It was in the same paragraph as something in response to what I wrote though... ? I like the (production) = (population) * (meter) system.
New colonies start with all Current Meters set to 0.
The idea is that if a player sends out a bunch of colony ships, he's screwed. It's a gameplay thing to control the number of new colonies (esp. early game).
As in food is shared freely amongst all colonies, is that the idea? This might allow the early game quick-expand strategy to build a bunch of colony ships, then set your homeworld to produce food while the colonies develop... (could be a good thing?)

(quick question: has free pooling of food been decided on? I assume so, but want to be sure)
1 to 2 requires the construction accumulator to reach 10, but going from 2 to 3 requies the accumulator to reach 20 (and so on).
I don't mind this, but I wouldn't make the jump so extreme. Doubling seems a bit much to me. No idea if it's the "right' thing to do or not.
Ok, sorry I should have continued the series a bit more to clarify. In SMAC it goes 10, 20, 30, 40, etc. Which is what I meant as well, not 10, 20, 40, 80, etc. The magnitude of the change around 10 or 20 in either case is insignificant compared to the higher up changes, which is the point... so whether 20 is double 10 shouldn't be an issue, as both are fairly small and thus short transitions even without a leader or a huge construction meter. I just liked going up by +10's because it's a simple series and predictable.

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#44 Post by drek » Thu Jul 01, 2004 8:44 am

(quick question: has free pooling of food been decided on? I assume so, but want to be sure)
Yes. Nutrients are sent to a global pool and shared freely.

Every resource is sent to a global pool, with the possible exception of Industry. That's being decided now.

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#45 Post by vishnou00 » Thu Jul 01, 2004 8:55 am

drek wrote:Every resource is sent to a global pool, with the possible exception of Industry. That's being decided now.
It would be convinient to have a link to where it as been decided. (A page in the design doc, a wiki, a design thread....)

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