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Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:49 am
by yandonman
Since the community seems to be off different minds on "Minor Patch: Gravitic and Titantic reduced upkeep", I'll post this:
LateGameCosts_t310.jpg
LateGameCosts_t310.jpg (104.78 KiB) Viewed 1098 times
(most of the designs are Death Ray I @ 80% of parts, and Diamond Armor for 10% and shields or engines for the remaining 10%)

A) Do we agree that there is a problem here?
B) Can we brainstorm some solutions? (aka: maybe the upkeep should go onto weapons?)


edit: (correcting link)

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:44 am
by Dilvish
Well, the costs of many of those are certainly quite high. You've got a ton of production and I guess you must have a pretty huge fleet. Besides not enjoying ships getting so expensive, I'm not sure what it is you want to discuss. The cheapest ones look like stock designs that don't have the high end parts you mention. Perhaps pick a handful of the designs to compare in more detail, including total structure, attack, shields, cost and buildtime.

Certainly, with ships so expensive, it starts to make the terraforming look cheap, but I suspect that conversation is just going to lead to terraforming also scaling up in cost as an empire gets bigger or something. Or maybe it's just simply reasonable that at turn 300+ of a game, terraforming is relatively cheap.

I suspect I'm only understanding a small portion of your intent.

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:52 am
by yandonman
What? You smell a trap? :twisted:


Here are the things I see as problems:
  • Colony ships late game costs are totally wacked. Fleet upkeep hits them disproportionately hard.
  • The only playable ships are the organic and energy ships.

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:21 am
by Geoff the Medio
yandonman wrote:[*] Colony ships late game costs are totally wacked. Fleet upkeep hits them disproportionately hard.
That might be due to colony pod cost increases with number of colonies, rather than fleet upkeep.
[*] The only playable ships are the organic and energy ships.
I don't know about "only playable", but that's a consequence of their very low hull costs. Fractal Energy Hull has 14 slots for 24 PP, but Self-Gravitating Hull has 10 for 240 PP. To balance that, Fractal needs to have some major drawbacks, or require some very expensive investments to unlock.

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:02 am
by Vezzra
yandonman wrote:The only playable ships are the organic and energy ships.
Based on my playtest, I'd say asteroid hulls too. In my experience they even beat the organic hulls in terms of cost-effectivness. I beat the crap out of the AI almost every time with them. They may be slow, but they are cheap and sturdy, and you get three sizes by just researching the base asteroid hull tech. I only get into trouble if I don't find a system with an asteroid belt in a decent strategic position quickly enough. Later I move on to the energy hulls.

I try to get rid of the standard hulls ASAP, I never bother with the constructed/robotic hulls (because of their ridiculously high costs), and use even the organic hulls just in case of emergency, when I can't get asteroids fast enough, or to build affordable colony ships in case I have a species I want to colonize with only in systems with no asteroid belts.

So yeah, the balance when it comes to hull types is a mess right now. And IMO the cost increase mechanic to simulate upkeep makes things even worse (I wish we could just get rid of that...).

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:10 am
by Vezzra
yandonman wrote:Colony ships late game costs are totally wacked.
Ah yes, I forgot - I totally agree, based on my last playtest. However, the problem is not so much the higher cost for the colony pod (that in itself actually is, although I think some adjustments should be made, an improvement, as I have to admit much to my surprise, I actually expected the opposite), but the increase of the colony pod cost with each owned planet. It makes colonizing and expanding a real pain that gets worse the bigger your empire gets :(

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:20 am
by Vezzra
Geoff the Medio wrote:I don't know about "only playable", but that's a consequence of their very low hull costs. Fractal Energy Hull has 14 slots for 24 PP, but Self-Gravitating Hull has 10 for 240 PP. To balance that, Fractal needs to have some major drawbacks, or require some very expensive investments to unlock.
Well, the problem is, the differences in costs are so extrem, that no amount of "expensive investments" can fix that. Unless you raise these investments to absolutely ridiculous levels. Because even the most expensive investments (as long as they stay at playable levels) have only be made once. The ships you get by that however are produced over and over again, and if some of the hulls are that much better than others, even the most expensive investments will pay off very quickly.

Resulting in the current situation that the whole robotic/constructed hull line is pretty much useless. To an extend that I think it should be fixed before 0.4.2.

That of course is just my experience from the few playtests I did. Maybe others have different experiences?

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:42 am
by Zireael
I use Robotics until I discover Organics, and then I don't even bother researching the rest of the line. And I don't think rev 5670 has the increase in colony pod costs based on empire size, so I can't comment on this one.

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:22 pm
by Geoff the Medio
Vezzra wrote:...the increase of the colony pod cost with each owned planet ... makes colonizing and expanding a real pain that gets worse the bigger your empire gets :(
So it's working as intended then? The idea was partly to encourage smaller empires. Perhaps outposts shouldn't count, or shouldn't count as much, but rather than colonizing everything possible, players might want to be a bit more selective.

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:36 pm
by unjashfan
So it's working as intended then? The idea was partly to encourage smaller empires.
I'm sure it is, but a little overkill. What I don't like about this is that everything slows down so much early game since it takes about 20 turns to get a 3rd colony ship online. I feel the 10-fold cost increase is too high. Another side effect is that a lot of things get researched by the time an empire has its 3rd or 4th colony. It somewhat mitigates the deficit of bad research and increases the effectiveness of good research (algorithmic elegance really emphasizes this).
So yeah, the balance when it comes to hull types is a mess right now.
Agreed. Production costs should be balanced so that it's possible for empires to pick one hull type and forgo the others without putting themselves into a disadvantageous situation.

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:13 pm
by Geoff the Medio
unjashfan wrote:...everything slows down so much early game since it takes about 20 turns to get a 3rd colony ship online. I feel the 10-fold cost increase is too high. Another side effect is that a lot of things get researched by the time an empire has its 3rd or 4th colony.
In a test just now, I had a 3rd colony ship on turn 15, during which time I researched 3 techs. This doesn't seem particularly bad to me... but how would you suggest tweaking colony ship costs?

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:53 pm
by Vezzra
Geoff the Medio wrote:In a test just now, I had a 3rd colony ship on turn 15, during which time I researched 3 techs. This doesn't seem particularly bad to me...
How did you pull off that?? I also run a test just now, and put all my PP only in colony ships - still, I got my third one on turn 26, and because I focused on nothing else I've been overrun by the AI shortly after.

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:40 pm
by Geoff the Medio
Queued up a colony ship on the homeworld, sent the free starting colony ship to a nearby terran after a turn or two when it was located by scouts, queued up the first tier production techs which unlock in a few turns...

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:36 am
by Vezzra
Geoff the Medio wrote:So it's working as intended then? The idea was partly to encourage smaller empires.
Well, that depends on what you intended... as far as encouraging smaller empires, I don't think so. Smaller maybe in the sense of "fewer colonies" for a much longer time, but not in the sense of "spanning fewer systems". Unless you are extremely lucky and get several really good planets near your homeworld, your first colonies are just farther away from each other. Because founding a new colony is so cost intensive now, you have to select the best planets you can get, and leave the others to be filled later.

Once you ran into the other empires, you establish the borders and set up guard fleets, then continue to colonize the plethora of planets you've left out before, because they weren't that optimal. And here is where it becomes very tedious, because of the inherent dynamics of 4X games: As long as military efforts against your neighbours will cost you resources better spent in building new colonies, you will do that. When the participants reach a point where the peaceful means of growing are exhausted, they will start to fight.

By making colony ships more expensive, you prolong the peaceful growing phase. By increasing the costs for new colonies with each new colony you found, you prolong that even further, because you put a dampener on the effect that growing output enables you to build new colonies faster. So essentially, you get what you had before (empires with everything colonized), it just takes a lot longer, and becomes more boring and less interesting until you get there (because the colonize everything phase gets so drawn out).

Re: Cost Effectiveness: Ship comparisons

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:20 am
by Bigjoe5
Vezzra wrote:Well, that depends on what you intended... as far as encouraging smaller empires, I don't think so. Smaller maybe in the sense of "fewer colonies" for a much longer time, but not in the sense of "spanning fewer systems". Unless you are extremely lucky and get several really good planets near your homeworld, your first colonies are just farther away from each other. Because founding a new colony is so cost intensive now, you have to select the best planets you can get, and leave the others to be filled later.
That sounds like what was intended to me. It also works well with proposed solutions to decrease micromanagement for colonization in the mid- to late-game.
Vezzra wrote:Once you ran into the other empires, you establish the borders and set up guard fleets, then continue to colonize the plethora of planets you've left out before, because they weren't that optimal. And here is where it becomes very tedious, because of the inherent dynamics of 4X games: As long as military efforts against your neighbours will cost you resources better spent in building new colonies, you will do that. When the participants reach a point where the peaceful means of growing are exhausted, they will start to fight.

By making colony ships more expensive, you prolong the peaceful growing phase. By increasing the costs for new colonies with each new colony you found, you prolong that even further, because you put a dampener on the effect that growing output enables you to build new colonies faster. So essentially, you get what you had before (empires with everything colonized), it just takes a lot longer, and becomes more boring and less interesting until you get there (because the colonize everything phase gets so drawn out).
I can't speak for anyone else, but in the test game I just played, I found it more convenient to go in and invade my neighbors to increase my production, rather than trying to colonize every nook and cranny of my own territory.