Recalibrating Population & Production

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eleazar
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Recalibrating Population & Production

#1 Post by eleazar » Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:21 pm

The idea has always been that meters generally max out at 100.
This is good in principle, but as currently implemented production can quickly and easily surpass 100. For instance the Hidden Gardener produces food at 3X the normal rate. On a medium planet with no other buildings, techs, or specials, you'll get 90 food per turn, when focused on food. And this is with a population of 15. Currently with all techs, specials and buildings a huge planet can house 110 population units. With nothing but population bonuses, the Hidden Gardener would produce 660 food per turn on such a planet.

But even less talented species can easily approach 100 and the end of the graphing space with a couple good techs and/or specials. Near endgame, i suppose nearly all of the meters you are focusing on will be way past 100. I haven't yet tallied up all the bonuses you can get for produciton.


My solution:
1) Population Changes:
a) reduce all population numbers by 1/5th. That means a tiny, good planet starts with a population of 1, and a huge, good starts with a population of 5
b) merge the tunnels special and Subterranean construction.
c) reduce the Gaian population boost to ~ 1.5x from 2.0x

This would give us a max population of 20, after adding a couple new minor population boosters.

2) Production Changes:
a) Baseline average production at 1 resource per 1 population. (currently food, & industry are 2 per 1 population)
b) Manage production bonuses so the max is something reasonable.

3) Rejigger costs to match reduced new production levels.

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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#2 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:20 am

eleazar wrote: a) reduce all population numbers by 1/5th. That means a tiny, good planet starts with a population of 1, and a huge, good starts with a population of 5
I generally like the idea of having lower planet target populations, and previously they were lower (though not as low as you suggest), but were increased. However, If a tiny good planet has max population of 1, then what do tiny adequate or poor planets get? 0.5? 0.2? It would probably be better to avoid max numbers below 1.0 for baseline planet target populations...

(I assume you meant target population by "starts with a population"...)

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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#3 Post by eleazar » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:22 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:(I assume you meant target population by "starts with a population"...)
Yes.
Geoff the Medio wrote:However, If a tiny good planet has max population of 1, then what do tiny adequate or poor planets get? 0.5? 0.2? It would probably be better to avoid max numbers below 1.0 for baseline planet target populations...
I realized that after posting, and i agree, i don't like <1 numbers for max population at any point.

However, something has to give.

Currently bonuses can increase population ~4x, and production bonuses can increase food production ~10x. I haven't calculated other production types, but 10x is the minimum i'd want since species, specials, techs, buildings, and probably governments will provide production bonuses.

So if we work backwards with those figures from a max production of 100, we get a baseline population of a huge, good of 2.5!


IDEAS: (not all of which need be used)

* Allow population bonuses that only total ~3x from base (feels skimpy to me but not horrible)

* Cap production at 100 (or 200 or whatever) no matter what. Assuming that the perfect combination of species, specials, techs, buildings, and governments will probably very rarely occur. Max theoretical production shouldn't be too much higher

* Extend the production meters to say 200

* Lower the base production rate to .5 resources per citizen per turn (i really don't like this one)

* Remove one of the planet sizes, so there's only 4

* Start off unmodified good planet max population like so:
  • Huge: 7
    Large: 6
    Medium: 5
    Small: 4
    Tiny: 3
That way a base Tiny, Adequate can be 2, and a Poor can be 1

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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#4 Post by eleazar » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:39 am

I pushed around the numbers on a spreadsheet, and this is the best i could do:
* removed the "huge" planet size
* limited population expansion to ~2x total

Unmodified Good max Population:
  • Large 12
    Medium 9
    Small 6
    Tiny 3
Maximum Population with all bonuses:
  • Large 25
    Medium 20
    Small 15
    Tiny 10
Base production is 1 resource per 1 population

Max resource production is forcibly capped at 200, or 250 (to pick a more generous but more arbitrary seeming number)

Species, techs, specials, buildings and governments each might add 2x the current population to production (maybe a little less). That would be a theoretical total of 11x max population, or 275 resource units per turn.

Or you could reign in the scale of the meter, by causing 1 base population to produce a fraction of a resource. That way means the player must deal with more annoying fractions, but production numbers from a single planet remain more manageable.


EDIT:
Gah! or we can leave population as it is to max at 100, and make the base production rate 1 resource per 10 population units. That way with 10x worth of production modifiers the max production still would not exceed 100.

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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#5 Post by Sloth » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:35 pm

I haven't been around for ages and i don't really know the background of these recalibratings (maybe someone can point me to some design documents or forum topics as an answer), but 100 or 200 are just random numbers so why not take 999 or something else that isn't reachable yet?
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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#6 Post by eleazar » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:08 pm

Sloth wrote:I haven't been around for ages and i don't really know the background of these recalibratings (maybe someone can point me to some design documents or forum topics as an answer), but 100 or 200 are just random numbers so why not take 999 or something else that isn't reachable yet?
I'm not aware of any previous discussions or plans on this topic, except generals stuff that meters should be between 0 and 100.
EDIT: of course there were a years of discussion before my time, some of it on a forum that died.

According to my math food production can currently go up to 1621 in an ideal planet.
The problem with just extending the meter is that:
* Early food production just gets lost as a tiny sliver at the low end, and/or isn't visible on the meter
* Quantities of resources from multiple planets blind you to their meaning by their very largeness



And the problem with my neat 10 citizens produce 1 resource idea is that it would require food consumption to me something lower than .05 food units per citizen.

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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#7 Post by Sloth » Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:20 pm

eleazar wrote: * Early food production just gets lost as a tiny sliver at the low end, and/or isn't visible on the meter
This could be addressed by using the maxProduction as 100% of the bar. So no capping is needed
eleazar wrote: * Quantities of resources from multiple planets blind you to their meaning by their very largeness
This is indeed a very important balancing issue that should be adressed. Now to the details:
eleazar wrote:I pushed around the numbers on a spreadsheet, and this is the best i could do:
* removed the "huge" planet size
* limited population expansion to ~2x total

Unmodified Good max Population:
  • Large 12
    Medium 9
    Small 6
    Tiny 3
Maximum Population with all bonuses:
  • Large 25
    Medium 20
    Small 15
    Tiny 10
I think removing the "huge" planet size will upset some users. Maybe:
  • Huge 15
    Large 12
    Medium 9
    Small 6
    Tiny 3
Maximum Population with all bonuses:
  • Huge 25
    Large 21
    Medium 17
    Small 13
    Tiny 9
(to accomplish this N-Dimensional Subspace could give a fixed number of population bonus independent of planet size and Subterranean Construction could be changed to 0,1,2,3,4).

The worst offender is definitely the Gaia special (doubling anything after other boni were applied should be a no go). I think it shouldn't affect max population at all.
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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#8 Post by eleazar » Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:44 pm

Sloth wrote:
eleazar wrote: * Early food production just gets lost as a tiny sliver at the low end, and/or isn't visible on the meter
This could be addressed by using the maxProduction as 100% of the bar. So no capping is needed
You mean 100% of what is currently possible with the current bonuses? Then there's no easy way to compare the production of different planets. 2 planets are full industrial production, 1 with a lousy species and negative specials, and 1 with an industrial-focused species and special industry-boosting buildings would both have 100% industry bars. It's just not very informative that way.
Sloth wrote:I think removing the "huge" planet size will upset some users. Maybe:
  • Huge 15
    ....
Maximum Population with all bonuses:
  • Huge 25
    ...
Well, then the capacity of your huge planet only increases + 60%. That seems too little scope for planetary improvement, IMHO, though there are no probably no solutions that don't involve an uncomfortable compromise.

I don't see why the loss of "huge" planets would be particularly annoying in the context of having the population of everything shrunk.

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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#9 Post by Sloth » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:04 pm

eleazar wrote: You mean 100% of what is currently possible with the current bonuses? Then there's no easy way to compare the production of different planets. 2 planets are full industrial production, 1 with a lousy species and negative specials, and 1 with an industrial-focused species and special industry-boosting buildings would both have 100% industry bars. It's just not very informative that way.
The player has the numbers to compare planets or am i missing something? If the bar shows the difference between current and max production it even contains additional information for the player (and not only presents the same information in another way).
eleazar wrote: Well, then the capacity of your huge planet only increases + 60%. That seems too little scope for planetary improvement, IMHO, though there are no probably no solutions that don't involve an uncomfortable compromise.
Ok, you've got a point here.
eleazar wrote: I don't see why the loss of "huge" planets would be particularly annoying in the context of having the population of everything shrunk.
It means less diversity in the universe. And less of "wow, i want to have this planet".
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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#10 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:28 pm

Something to consider is not always having resource output be proportional to population, with empire development just increasing the slope of the proportionality.

Perhaps it should be increasingly difficult to get a population-dependent resource output multiplier above some threshold... After some point of progress through the game content, new content would start giving fixed bonuses for some resources, rather than more population-dependent bonuses. Probably these non-population-dependent bonuses would only be useful on already well-developed planets, so players don't need to spam lots of new colonies to get their population-independent bonuses.

Also, if the existing concept / mechanism of food is suitable reworked, issues of requiring 0.05 food / population unit won't exist.

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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#11 Post by eleazar » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:56 am

Sloth wrote:
eleazar wrote: You mean 100% of what is currently possible with the current bonuses? Then there's no easy way to compare the production of different planets. 2 planets are full industrial production, 1 with a lousy species and negative specials, and 1 with an industrial-focused species and special industry-boosting buildings would both have 100% industry bars. It's just not very informative that way.
The player has the numbers to compare planets or am i missing something?
If you can quickly look at a handful of numbers on different planet sidebars and get a good sense of their relative values, congratulations, many people can't. And of those who can, many think it feels like work.

As much of the critical game information as is possible, i want to be available at a glance with the minimum mental effort to digest. Mental energy in FO is supposed to be devoted largely to devising devious strategies.
Sloth wrote:
eleazar wrote:I don't see why the loss of "huge" planets would be particularly annoying in the context of having the population of everything shrunk.
It means less diversity in the universe. And less of "wow, i want to have this planet".
That's the kind of feeling FO is supposed to generate. But i think it would be more connected to the rarity of the largest planet size rather than to weather there are 4 or 5 sizes.

Geoff the Medio wrote:Something to consider is not always having resource output be proportional to population, with empire development just increasing the slope of the proportionality.

Perhaps it should be increasingly difficult to get a population-dependent resource output multiplier above some threshold... After some point of progress through the game content, new content would start giving fixed bonuses for some resources, rather than more population-dependent bonuses.
That would tend to reduce the relative disadvantageiousness of small colonies. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing, but doesn't effect anything at this point where i'm trying to rig things so that max production can fit.
Geoff the Medio wrote:Also, if the existing concept / mechanism of food is suitable reworked, issues of requiring 0.05 food / population unit won't exist.
True. I think both our proposals for food would do that.


:arrow: New, Improved proposal:
(same as before)
* removed the "huge" planet size
* limited population expansion to ~2x total

Unmodified Good max Population:
  • Large 12
    Medium 9
    Small 6
    Tiny 3
Maximum Population with all bonuses:
  • Large 25
    Medium 20
    Small 15
    Tiny 10
(new)

* Species, Buildings, Techs, Specials, & Governments each can only add 150% each to on average productivity. That's a total of 8.5x the unmodified rate. Some might add more, if others add less. It's less than i'd want, but still allows significant improvement over beginning of the game conditions.

Then these's 2 choices that seem equally appropriate.

* A) smaller numbers, more fractions
Standard base production is .5 resources per 1 population.
This means a base, Medium Good planet with a full pop of 9 would produce 4.5 of it's focused resource
While a large planet with all possible bonuses would produce 106.25
We can cap that at a very nice round 100, or slightly lessen the bonuses.

* B) bigger numbers, less fractions
Standard base production is 1 resources per 1 population.
This means a base, Medium Good planet with a full pop of 9 would produce 9 of it's focused resource
While a large planet with all possible bonuses would produce 212.5
We can cap that at a nice round 200, or slightly lessen the bonuses.

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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#12 Post by Sloth » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:24 am

eleazar wrote:
Sloth wrote:
eleazar wrote: You mean 100% of what is currently possible with the current bonuses? Then there's no easy way to compare the production of different planets. 2 planets are full industrial production, 1 with a lousy species and negative specials, and 1 with an industrial-focused species and special industry-boosting buildings would both have 100% industry bars. It's just not very informative that way.
The player has the numbers to compare planets or am i missing something?
If you can quickly look at a handful of numbers on different planet sidebars and get a good sense of their relative values, congratulations, many people can't. And of those who can, many think it feels like work.

As much of the critical game information as is possible, i want to be available at a glance with the minimum mental effort to digest. Mental energy in FO is supposed to be devoted largely to devising devious strategies.
Another idea:
Set 100% of the bar to the maximum of all current and target productions of the corresponding ressource in the empire. This way the player can quickly see, which is his best producer (when the bar is full).

The bar will always remain meaningful throughout every stage of a game and we don't need any hard cap.
eleazar wrote: New, Improved proposal:
(same as before)
* removed the "huge" planet size
* limited population expansion to ~2x total

Unmodified Good max Population:
  • Large 12
    Medium 9
    Small 6
    Tiny 3
Maximum Population with all bonuses:
  • Large 25
    Medium 20
    Small 15
    Tiny 10
(new)

* Species, Buildings, Techs, Specials, & Governments each can only add 150% each to on average productivity. That's a total of 8.5x the unmodified rate. Some might add more, if others add less. It's less than i'd want, but still allows significant improvement over beginning of the game conditions.
I would still say this is going a bit far only to reduce numbers.

eleazar wrote: Then these's 2 choices that seem equally appropriate.

* A) smaller numbers, more fractions
Standard base production is .5 resources per 1 population.
This means a base, Medium Good planet with a full pop of 9 would produce 4.5 of it's focused resource
While a large planet with all possible bonuses would produce 106.25
We can cap that at a very nice round 100, or slightly lessen the bonuses.

* B) bigger numbers, less fractions
Standard base production is 1 resources per 1 population.
This means a base, Medium Good planet with a full pop of 9 would produce 9 of it's focused resource
While a large planet with all possible bonuses would produce 212.5
We can cap that at a nice round 200, or slightly lessen the bonuses.
I think game marketing research is clear about this: Big numbers are cool, fractions are unfun.
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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#13 Post by eleazar » Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:00 pm

Sloth wrote:
eleazar wrote:If you can quickly look at a handful of numbers on different planet sidebars and get a good sense of their relative values, congratulations, many people can't. And of those who can, many think it feels like work.

As much of the critical game information as is possible, i want to be available at a glance with the minimum mental effort to digest. Mental energy in FO is supposed to be devoted largely to devising devious strategies.
Another idea:
Set 100% of the bar to the maximum of all current and target productions of the corresponding ressource in the empire. This way the player can quickly see, which is his best producer (when the bar is full).

The bar will always remain meaningful throughout every stage of a game and we don't need any hard cap.
That's an interesting idea. It would essentially be a kind of graph inflation. It's very true that 40 RP may be a big deal at the beginning of the game, but is pocket-change by the end.

If we do that, in order to minimize confusion:
a) all production meters should be on the same scale.
b) the scale should expand in set increments, i.e. 10s, 20s, or 50s, so the meter is made up of an even number of major grid lines.
c) the top end of the scale should be set by the largest target meter your empire is aware of, so you can compare not only your own planets, but any ally or enemy you have knowledge of.
d) probably it should only expand, never contract.

I fear this would not be simple to implement, but even if we had it implemented tomorrow, i still think there's reason enough to go through with the recalibration, except probably the possibly cap.

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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#14 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:40 pm

I'd rather attempt to limit meters with the available game content and keep a fixed maximum bar scale than attempt to rescale things during a game.

I think the current and proposed ranges of scalings from population to productivity are too large.

Consider Civ-like games, where you might have mostly 2 food / 1 production / 1 trade per worked tile at the start of the game, and 3 food / 2 production / 3 trade at the end, on average, or up to 2:1 in base tile yields on good tiles. Not all tiles are good though, and usually the good ones get worked first, leading to a tailing off of growth of total output with population over time, despite the gains, but I'll ignore that. There are also usually one or two tiers of +25% or +50% effect, so let's say +100% output, giving a range of 4:1 between the end and start productivity per worker. For total city yields, about 1 or 2 per turn usable output is typical at the start, and might go up to (very roughly) 100 at the end of the game.

One thing to keep in mind is that not all bonuses have to be proportional to population. We do want to avoid encouraging the player to spam small colonies everywhere for fixed per-colony bonuses, but that doesn't mean there can't be specials or native species that can't colonize which give fixed population-independent bonuses, as these can't be spammed.

And more generally, just increasing resource outputs isn't the only way the player can build and develop an empire, so it's not essentially to have a big range of these numbers that the player can look at to gauge things. Techs and buildings can have parallel trees of content that unlock opportunities to do things other than "+1*population to industry".

That all said, some things might just not work well with a 1 to 100 range. Detection range in particular might not work so well if 1 detection is 1 uu on the map, and the map is 100s of uu across. Similarly, resource sharing range probably won't go much over 10. In either case, a scale maxing at 100 isn't very useful.

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Re: Recalibrating Population & Production

#15 Post by eleazar » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:06 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:I think the current and proposed ranges of scalings from population to productivity are too large.
My proposal for population is that the max is 25, and one for productivity is that the max is 100. You think those are too large? How small do you think it should be?
Geoff the Medio wrote:Consider Civ-like games ... There are also usually one or two tiers of +25% or +50% effect, so let's say +100% output, giving a range of 4:1 between the end and start productivity per worker. For total city yields, about 1 or 2 per turn usable output is typical at the start, and might go up to (very roughly) 100 at the end of the game.
I'm not really sure what game you are referring to. Usually there are Wonders as well, which often effect production, and multiply it beyond base levels. And wonders cans stack. Checking a few of my near-end-game Civ IV saves, i usually had multiple cities with production in multiple hundreds, in one case 500+.

I'm not saying we need to go into multiple hundreds. Just that it won't be easy to to keep things under 100.
Geoff the Medio wrote:And more generally, just increasing resource outputs isn't the only way the player can build and develop an empire, so it's not essentially to have a big range of these numbers that the player can look at to gauge things. Techs and buildings can have parallel trees of content that unlock opportunities to do things other than "+1*population to industry".
I'm not quite sure what point you are making. Yes there are other things to do besides increase production. But production is pretty much the backbone of anything else you do-- so increasing that is always interesting and important. However with the large number of planets in a FO galaxy, and the way the whole empire can contribute to one building/ship-- getting a whole lot of planets is going to be a very powerful strategy. The only question is weather a small, highly developed empire will be a valid strategy too or not.
Geoff the Medio wrote:That all said, some things might just not work well with a 1 to 100 range. Detection range in particular might not work so well if 1 detection is 1 uu on the map, and the map is 100s of uu across. Similarly, resource sharing range probably won't go much over 10. In either case, a scale maxing at 100 isn't very useful.
Detection could easily work in a 1 to 100 range. The Uu unit would have to be increased in size, but it is pointlessly tiny as it is. I don't think stars get closer than ~50 uus. There's no reason the unit of measure can't be greatly deflated, by a factor of 10 or more.

But yeah, there are other things that don't need a full 100.
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