Public review II: Buildings

Past public reviews and discussions.
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Aquitaine
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Public review II: Buildings

#1 Post by Aquitaine » Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:41 pm

I've just gone through the DESIGN and Public Review thread for building. There's a lot of material there, so I may be leaving something out, but I was chiefly trying to eliminate stuff we definitely don't want (MOO2 style everything, for example) and focus on the remaining issues so I can add it to the DD.

It seems to me that we have reached consensus on the following points.

  • Making building decisions should be the exception and not the rule; the majority of building progress and technology that is mirrored on every planet should be 'factored out' into an infrastructure meter.
  • We only want control over building things that matter: in this case, ships, wonders, or 'semi-wonders,' which are essentially things that are Really Important and occupy a planetary slot but aren't totally unique.

That cuts down a great deal of the discussion, in spite of the verbosity of these threads. :) The only issues that remain are:

  • #1: Where should you make the decisions about the remaining things we want control over,
  • #2: Should you build them somewhere specifically, or build them in purgatory and place them afterwards,
  • #3: Should you be able to pool multiple planets' production capacities?


I have purposefully refrained from actually getting involved in this discussion, partially because many of you are better at thinking in these terms than I am, and partially because I wanted to have a fresh, semi-impartial perspective now, so I can look at this through the lens of the mission of the game and our two cardinal rules, without feeling as though I've beaten the subject to death (which you have all very nicely done for me!).

So here are my thoughts:

Initially, I was dead set against an 'infrastructure' element because I thought it sucked the life out of the fun bits of MOO2. But I've been won over to this camp, simply because I realized that MOO2 is really a planet-building game with combat sprinkled in, and that's not what I want; games like Crusader Kings or EU2, while they certainly have their weaknesses, succeed in that you spend very little time dealing with your individual provinces (of which you frequently have several) but there are a few building decisions to make. This keeps your focus Imperial rather than local. So I think we need to factor out most of our tech upgrades into infrastructure. We also have to figure out how this should work; for example, we will still have tech improvements that will fall into the infrastructure category, but how do they apply? If my planet has 100% infrastructure and I research Robotic Factories, does my infrastructure fall to 90% until I build those? Or do I automatically get the factories since the infrastructure is already there? I'm asking for a formula here; it seems to me that the best bet for infrastructure would be to base it strictly off of population. So if my population is at 20/20, I slowly approach 100% infrastructure, but if I get some tech or a wonder that doubles the pop cap to 40, my infrastructure falls considerably since I have to 'expand' the infrastructure to accomodate the new population. How this ties into new techs is what remains to be seen.

That takes care of 80% of building issues. What remains is how and where we build ships, 'slot' items, and wonders. You all seem to be evenly split in terms of whether or not things should be built 'in a place' or in purgatory, or if they should be placed before they are built. I think that, even if we allow you to control this type of production on an Imperial level (and it seems as though that's what most everyone thinks), the specific projects still need to be local. I haven't seen any good method of 'pooling' PP, and I think this creates a game balance nightmare, since it is nearly impossible for the designers to know how many PP you might have available for a particular project when we allow you to use your whole Empire. This also breaks a MOO convention and KISS; one planet, one building project. So, personally, I see no benefit and an enormous cost to 'globalizing' production itself, even if I very much want to globalize control of production.

The way I envision it is that the game would give you a menu of everything your Empire knows how to build, ordered by items you can actually build; so if you have the tech to build Supercapital Shipyard but you don't have any planets with enough people or whatever to support it, then it shows up near the end of the list. If you do meet the requirements, then the location of the project defaults to the planet that can build it the fastest. You can then change the location to anywhere else; a little mini-map showing the location of the star system in the build window would give this a particularly smooth, 'Imperial' feeling to it.

I think this is really the most simple way of going about it, because if you agree that we cannot pool multiple planets' production (which you may not), then you are basically saying that production must occur locally. This especially applies to ships, where production is going to be tied to where your shipyards are, while their deployment may have nothing to do with their build location. We can talk about placing ships another time, but what I'm saying here is that production, unlike research, should not come out of one giant, Imperial pool of PP; the game should figure out where you are most likely to build a thing (probably where you'll get it the fastest) and suggest it, but you should be able to order it built anywhere you want.

I remember reading a post by Drek about meters that I really wanted to include here for discussion, but I can't find it now - so, Drek, if you can briefly discuss how your meters system would fit into this or any of the alternative proposed models, please enlighten us. :)

For the rest of this thread, please indicate your preference regarding the above choices. If I've left out your proposal and it did get significant discussion in the DESIGN thread or the first public review of this topic, PM me and I will add it. Otherwise, I will delete other proposals because if this thread gets out of control then I will be unhappy. :)

Thanks for your patience with this.

-Aquitaine
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tzlaine
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#2 Post by tzlaine » Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:31 pm

Well, I guess everyone pretty much knows how I'm going to vote:

#1 Global build queue, with no local build queues
#2 Pre-placement (surprise!)
#3 As a consequence of 1, empire-wide production pooling

I've come to believe that the pre-/post-placement issue is not such a big deal, mainly because we are dealing with a small number of buildings, and also because I think it is reasonable to require that ships be built in a specific shipyard.

I think global production/production pooling is the way to go, for a number of reasons.

1) Keeping track of the progress of production on each of your planets makes big games with 100 systems or more (i.e. ~300-500 planets and build queues) in your empire very painful. It doesn't really matter much if we consolidate these queues onto one screen or not. If you can pick which planet you want any single item to be produced on, even if the game usually picks pretty well, you are still left with a staggering number of choices.

2) The same argument applies to the case where we pool production at the system level. Then you "only" have 100 or more queues in a large game with more than 100 systems.

3) If we have these rare and expensive shipyards that everyone seems in favor of, tying their total production rate to the output of a single planet or a single system effectively means that you cannot produce very many ships at one time. This means that you will try to produce one shipyard for every industrial world/system you have that's above a certain size. I think this goes against the basic idea of the rare, expensive shipyard.

4) I don't understand this argument against pooling PP:

I haven't seen any good method of 'pooling' PP...


What "method" is required to pool PP, aside from just declaring that all PP are available empire-wide in the DD? I don't understand.

..., and I think this creates a game balance nightmare, since it is nearly impossible for the designers to know how many PP you might have available for a particular project when we allow you to use your whole Empire.


And I disagree with this part. We can just determine the typical empire size and production rate. If you play a smaller empire, you will produce items more slowly, and the opposite will happen for a larger-than-normal empire. I don't quite understand what about this is nightmarish.


Let me make one last point. The thing that keeps me from playing MOO2 on a regular basis is only that I get bogged down in the micromanagement. I like the empire-building and strategic/combat elements a lot, and they are what motivate me to sit down and start a new game. But they are almost always trumped by the elements I don't like, namely the planet-building aspects, because they occupy such a huge amount of game time. I see our game as an opportunity to shift the focus of a game like MOO2, which was influenced by the micro-hell that is the Civ franchise, to be a little more like MOO1, in which you are the leader of an empire, and don't have time to be a governor for every planet. To me, empire-wide build queue and PP pooling is as largely about the emphasis we are choosing for our game.

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noelte
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#3 Post by noelte » Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:01 pm

Now, i will try to make my point clear.

First, IMO buildings, production and shipyards are closely connected and should be handled all together.

Most people favor a system with only a few (~20?) buildings. I will take this as an fact.

I don't like the idea of collecting all planet production into a global pool even if this would be the way research is handled. If you use a global PP pool you have to introduce some system/methode that limits how much PP you can put into a single build project. I think we all agree that you shouldn't be able to build f.i. death stars within a single turn. I strongly favor local production. By this, i mean, planet PP itself should limit how fast you can produce something. But i also think that there should be a method which allows the player to assign build orders on a global level to single planets.

As i see it, we produce mainly building(,wonders) and ships. It obvious that buildings have to be placed on planet and therefore should be build by the planet itself. But when it comes to shipyards it isn't so clear anymore. I liked the idea of rare and expensive shipyards, but i don't know how they could be handled. Shipyards have to consume production to build ships, but PP is generated by (industrial) planets. How get those PP to the shipyards (without a global pool)? Also building planetary defences (system ships/mines/star bases) is another topic. If it would be up to me, i would drop those rare shipyards and do it smilar as moo1-3 did, let the planet build those things. e.g. Planet builds a local shipyard and after that ships on that shipyard.


even if i wasn't clear, i think we should make up our minds how the whole production system could work. It makes no sense, to deside only about how to contruct buildings without takeing ships construction into account.

Ronald.

Vote:
#1 local production queue with some global tool
#2 Pre-placement (comes with #1)
#3 no global production pooling

Edit: I still mix up thing and think. Trust me, i know the difference :-(
Last edited by noelte on Wed Jun 30, 2004 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#4 Post by Xardas » Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:03 pm

Just my 2 cents:

1) local queues
2) Pre-Placement
3) system wide production pooling, but global maintenance fees for ships/shipyards

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#5 Post by tzlaine » Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:20 pm

noelte wrote:I think we all agree that you shouldn't be able to build f.i. death stars within a single turn.


As others have suggested, I think build projects should be X PP for Y turns, just like research. I am not advocating building enormous items in a single turn.

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#6 Post by noelte » Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:34 pm

tzlaine wrote:
noelte wrote:I think we all agree that you shouldn't be able to build f.i. death stars within a single turn.
As others have suggested, I think build projects should be X PP for Y turns, just like research.
First with "you" i didn't meant you. :-) But anyway, what's big and what isn't is difficult to decide and may depend if you are in a early stage or mid/late game. PS: Are we supposed to discuss within this thread or only to state our points?

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#7 Post by Aquitaine » Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:58 pm

System queues have been eliminated. We're talking either planetary level or empire level now.

Please limit your discussion to clarifying points. This thread is for me to gauge interest in different implementations, not to debate this topic for another 10 pages.

EDIT: If I'm challenging your point, it's because I'm trying to poke holes in everything. At the moment I only really understand one of the possible solutions, so I'm trying to wrap my mind around the other possibilities.
Last edited by Aquitaine on Wed Jun 30, 2004 12:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#8 Post by Krikkitone » Tue Jun 29, 2004 7:33 pm

1) Imperial queues
2) 'Localized'/Placed production
3) Pooled production (to some degree) (ie some limits on how much production based on local variables and the nature of the build project)


As for the Infrastructure... I think the complexity comes when we say Infrastructure%. Total Infrastructure allowed (as a product of population and tech effects) seems like it would be less complicated to deal with. (although it's mathematically easily changed, it is a better starting point)

so a simple formula would be

Infrastructure Allowed=Population x Tech Factor

Then we could take game effects/building limitations from either
Infrastructure
Infrastructure% =Infrastructure / Infrastructure Allowed
Planetary Development = Infrastructure% x Population / Max. Pop

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#9 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Jun 29, 2004 7:54 pm

1) Ability to specify build orders globally (flexible macro tool) or locally (micro interface). Build orders are stored in a unified global priority queue only. Orders can be given "globally" to all planets, a group of planets, or a single planet. For convenience, orders can also be given to a single planet from planet or system view, but this order is placed into the global queue, just as if it had been placed with the global queue for that planet only. Locally placed order's priority (in global queue) can be above or below any other global or local orders already including the planet.

2) Pre-placement. Build at specific location (and appear at that location if a ship).

3) No pooling. (If Pooling: With hard or soft limit on spending from pool at a particular world, or with "tax" on imports)

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#10 Post by Ragnar » Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:28 pm

1) Both. - The player should have control from both empire and local level. Primarily a global que, but if you happen to be inspecting a particular planet and decide you want something there, you should be able to add it to the empire que without having to manually go out to the 'empire production que' screen and add it with the planet's location and then manually go back to look at the planet (where you were before the decision). This should be automated through the UI. You should also see what is in the empire que for that planet you are inspecting.

I really like the global interface that Aquitaine proposed.

2) Location decided when added to the que.

3) I lean toward no pooling, certainly no unrestricted pooling.

If no pooling, it does lead to killing the few shipyards concept. I have always been in favor of allowing some type of small ship to be contructed planetside, like how MOO2 allows scouts and destoyers to be built without a shipyard. A solution to this could be a parts/assembly type system: planets that don't have a shipyard could produce weapons pods and other systems and "ship" them to a shipyard for assembly in hulls. This must be left relativly abstract to avoid complication.

or we have to use limited pooling in order to keep the few shipyards concept going. Tzlaine's proposal for a hard time limit like the research model is sound, if pooling is the winner. Also a graphical allocation of which planet donates to which (like Warlords series vectoring) could be used in conjuntion with a loss of PP over distance, to nudge players towards a more balanced spread of shipyards and industrial planets. Without this I could see players simply buiding a new shipyard near the front and cranking out all their ships from there.

Infrastructure:
Krikkitone is right on target.
You may be at 100% when a new tech comes out, you are now at a lower % but you didn't drop any infrastructure you just gained more potential. Using a ratio of actual#/potential# gives a percentage. A percentage is useful to determine growth, but the actual# should be the primary factor in deciding most issues like pre-requisites to build a shipyard.

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#11 Post by snakechia » Tue Jun 29, 2004 10:25 pm

#1 Global build queues with no local

if a player has the option to manually override global queues locally, then obviously there will be a benifit to doing so, thus forcing everyone to do so, thus creating micromanagement hell.

#2 Specific placement

I just personally do not like the idea of being able to build up production on a project at the same time a new planet is colonized and instantly being able to place said project at the new planet. I could probably still be conviced the other way on this topic.

3# Empire wide pooling

Obviously with global build queues you need to have empire wide pooling. I like the idea of needing a fleet of freighters (a la MOO2) for every increasing percentage of PP. This way there will be necessary cost in maintaining the empire wide pooling, and the larger the empire the larger the cost. This would make a large empire pool costs less efficiently.

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#12 Post by miu » Tue Jun 29, 2004 10:42 pm

I agree with Noelte
1 - local ques with global tools. - as the maximum numbers of buildings/colony is very low there wont be too much microing.
2 - local building and predecided placement
3 - no global pool, systemwide could work.
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#13 Post by drek » Tue Jun 29, 2004 10:52 pm

I agree with everything tzlaine is saying, re: queues.

Infrastructure and/or meters is a can of worms; don't have time today to get into it.

edit: long story short, I wonder if we even need a new value for infrastructure. We can just assume that the v.2 populations come with infrastructure, and special case unusual situations with planet specials. So after a protracted bombing campaign or an earthquake event, a planet might acquire the special "Ruined Infrastructure" that disappears after X turns. Newly colonized worlds might have the special "Nascent Colony." Each of these specials would affect the meters (like everything else), plus restrict buildings. A world that's lost it's population (ie, been destroyed) would have "Modern Ruins" or something as a special, granting a insta-population bonus to the next empire to colonize the world.

In this case, technologies would directly effect the meters, rather than adding capacity to infrastructure. That's the core of the meter idea, anyway.

(Another special might be "Core World"....requirement being that the planet's been a colony for X turns and is either surrounded by friendly worlds or is connected by one starlane hop to the Homeworld. This would be a way of restricting construction of shipyards off the front lines. )

Not entirely clear on the scope of the review, re: infrastructure. Is this is a design-like discussion, or a vote for...what?

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#14 Post by Aquitaine » Tue Jun 29, 2004 11:53 pm

Infrastructure is a side issue, really. The point of this review is the three questions.
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#15 Post by PowerCrazy » Wed Jun 30, 2004 12:12 am

I'm onboard with Drek and Tzlaine.

The actual method of global PP sharing is a tough one. For now I'd say that each shipyard has a particular pp/turn limit. When a planet is building a building it is forced to use its own production. But when contributing to a global cause such as feeding people, building ships, researching tech it can contribute all of its production.
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