Next steps

Creation, discussion, and balancing of game content such as techs, buildings, ship parts.

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Prokonsul Piotrus
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#31 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus » Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:25 am

drek wrote:a: the effectsgroups in the above are not well formed. see geoff's example at the end of the Learning thread, or my own construction example. The effects group is the toughest part to write, the section that people would need the most help translating.

b: unless a stunning writer of specultive fiction shows up with a bunch of tech ideas, people should genenerally translate their own techs into XML. This does two things,

1: releaves the work burden on coders and designers
2: more importantly, forces each tech to be *possible* under the effects system. For example,

Code: Select all

 <EffectsGroup>
    pop growth +10%
 </EffectsGroup>
....is not possible. (or rather, you'd say target.currentpopulation+(.10*target.currentpopulation), which isn't desirable) Instead, you'd raise maxhealth by 1 or 3.
As I said, I have little experience with XML. I will try to learn it but I hope that sb out there with better XML knowledge will take care of that part. I am willing to sort through existing posts and put them on wiki like I shown. My primary goal is to make those techs easily readable, so we know what was posted and can among other things can deal with stuff like.:
drek wrote: Finally, I'm really hoping the author of those cocaine and sex joke techs was not being serious. I don't mind mature uses of narcotics and reproduction issues in the game, but silly school yard "jokes" are not appropriate.
Yep. Plz note I take no responsibility for what was posted in the forums, I am just collecting the techs to show why using wiki is better. Feel free to edit those techs out of wiki or change their names or whaterver.
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Getix
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Re: Next steps

#32 Post by Getix » Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:51 am

Anonymous wrote:
Aquitaine wrote:
Record the number of RP you produce at:
- Turn 1
- Turn 10
- Turn 25
- Turn 50
- Turn 75
- Turn 90
- Turn 100
Balanced Focus


Turn 1 : 80
Turn 10: 100
Turn 25: 155
Turn 50: 324
Turn 75: 661
Turn 90: 939
Turn 100: 1199

Hopes that help ;)
It was me, just forgot to log in...

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Getix "The Cromist", (20, 90, Italy, MI)
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Prokonsul Piotrus
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#33 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus » Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:56 pm

Over the past few days I have been working on a my own tech tree for FO. It is far from finished, but perhaps some of the tech ideas there may be useful for you. Anyway, I see no point in keeping it to myself, especially as the discussion here seems to be dying of - maybe this will sparkle a few comments.
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Geoff the Medio
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#34 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Feb 05, 2005 9:23 am

Prokonsul Piotrus wrote:Over the past few days I have been working on a my own tech tree for FO. It is far from finished, but perhaps some of the tech ideas there may be useful for you. Anyway, I see no point in keeping it to myself, especially as the discussion here seems to be dying of - maybe this will sparkle a few comments.
If you properly format your suggested techs as XML, and then specify theories in my current tree under which some of your applications might fit, we can probably use some of them in the game...

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#35 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus » Mon Feb 28, 2005 6:58 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote: If you properly format your suggested techs as XML, and then specify theories in my current tree under which some of your applications might fit, we can probably use some of them in the game...
So if - suprise - I don't know almost anything about XML, am I just wasting my time? Is there any guide for FO XML use or such? I am really trying to make my techs as compatibile with XML as I can, but I am afraid I am a laic in this matter. For now, I am concentraiting on things I feel I know - logic, layout, story.
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Geoff the Medio
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#36 Post by Geoff the Medio » Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:18 pm

Prokonsul Piotrus wrote:So if - suprise - I don't know almost anything about XML, am I just wasting my time?
It's not really "XML" that you need to know about... Rather, it's the specific conditions and effects and way to expression them in XML that has been set up for FO techs.
Is there any guide for FO XML use or such?
Tutorial:

http://www.freeorion.org/index.php/EffectsTutorial

Might be slightly out of date, but is mostly right, and gives you an idea how things work roughly, even if not exactly.

Examples:

http://www.freeorion.org/index.php/XML_ ... n_Examples

These may not all actually work (or work as intended) if pasted into techs.xml and the game was fired up, but they're pretty close to working, and are generally in the right format.

If you're just doing prerequisites and such, then it looks like most of your XML-formatted techs are roughly ok. The above is for effects stuff, mainly.

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#37 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus » Tue Mar 01, 2005 9:03 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote: If you're just doing prerequisites and such, then it looks like most of your XML-formatted techs are roughly ok. The above is for effects stuff, mainly.
Tnx for the links. Yes, I am mostly concentraing on prerequisites/allows stuff, with some notes/fluff. I prefer to live the effects, tech costs and such to the people who know more about XML and overall balance - I just want to create something roughly similar 'in feel' to SMAC. Do let me know if there is any specific aspect of the tech tree (economy, military, propulsion, etc.) you'd like me to develop in the first place - I am just adding ideas randomly atm.
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#38 Post by Aquitaine » Sat Mar 05, 2005 12:55 am

Hi everybody--

A quick heads up on what's going on next.

I'm going to be spending some time on what's been submitted thus far, along with the how-to guide for effects that's floating around, and figure out what our next step is. This will take me a few days, so if you've had anything stewing you wanted to add to any of these categories, take care of it this weekend. Sorry for the hiatus in getting this done, but I'm going to be stepping up my work on this now that I have some time again.

-Aq
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#39 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Mar 05, 2005 7:13 am

So assuming the basic theories stuff I've proposed are used, what's left is to fill out the tree with applications and refinements, and to (perhaps) add some effects to the theories. IMO, a good way start this would be to establish what the difference between a theory, application or refinement is.

I figure the idea should be that theories themselves generally do nothing; they only unlock applications and refinements.

Applications would be broken into two basic types: "direct effect" applications, which would themselves have effects that do something interesting (eg. bonuses and penalties), and "unlocking" applications, which themselves do nothing, but which are basically only there to unlock something the player can build or some game feature.

The unlocking applications would be named specifically for the thing they unlock, so for example, if there was an "Imperial Bank" wonder, then there would be an associated "Imperial Bank" application technology under some economics theory. The application tech would just unlock the appropriate building, which the player would then gain access to. Ship parts would be unlocked essentially the same way. Other unlocking applications would unlock features, rather than buildings or ship parts or other "buildable" things. This would let the player pick a new government, sign a new type of treaty, do a new spy mission, use a new type of biological plague, etc. The degree of distinction between "buildable" and these latter examples is hard to say at this point, as we haven't really designed any of the features yet, but I'm trying to look ahead.

The "effect" applications would just have effects that do something interesting, like boosting some meters. There's not really much we can do with this type of application at this point, as the v0.3 effects system is quite limited. In future I hope there'll be a larger selection of interesting effects that can do interesting things, making for an array of interesting effect applications.

For v0.3 in general, there's probably not much point in putting a whole lot of time and effort into designing application techs. Unlike the theories, which presumably could be carried as they are until v1.0, the application techs we currently have the tools to create are too limited to be anything resembling a finalized version. This applies to both the effect applications, which are limited by the set of effects we can add, and the unlocking ones, which can't even be implemented at all yet, as there's no way to build anything in the game, and even if there was, the buildings are basically limited to the same effects as techs are...

SO... my suggestion is not to worry too much about v0.3 buildings and application techs and such. In the event the buildings system gets implemented, I'd planned to put out a slew of filler buildings, building-unlocking applications, and direct effect applications to basically test the system. Until we get more interseting effects, that's pretty much all that's worth doing, IMO.

As for refinement techs, they can currently just add effects groups to buildings. I've asked a few times, and desparately hope to get, the ability to remove (or deactivate) effects groups as well, as IMO this would be about 47 times more useful. In any case, the effects groups that can be added by refinements are just as limited as the effects groups that can be on buildings in the first place, so the same suggestion applies as it did for unlocking application techs: just put some filler testing stuff in v0.3, and worry about interesting stuff later.

From a design standpoint, we might want to figure out what other sorts of things refinements could / should do besides adding (and removing?) effects groups from building types. Presumably they'll change ship part stats in some way, though that can wait until ships stuff is designed... But are there any other general / broad types of things refinements could do that doesn't break down to just adding effects groups? If there are applications that unlock things like governments, espionage, etc, presumably these things could also be "refined" in some way... Can we, and should we, figure out what sorts of things would be involved now? (or wait until those things are designed?)

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#40 Post by Aquitaine » Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:24 pm

I think effects for theories should be kept to a minimum; otherwise they are just applications that unlock other applications.

I do agree (to some extent) that the theory name should, ideally, give the player some sense of what the applications are without having to look at them. But they should be distinct enough so it's not just 'Imperial Bank (Idea)' and 'Imperial Bank (building)', but I'm not worries about that because we'll have more than one application per theory. So if what Geoff is saying is that we should try and stick to some correlation between the name of the theory and the applications attached to it, then I'm with him.

I've also been poking a bit at HoI2, which occasionally requires you to commit to one branch of a tech tree at the expense of another. It only really does this in the doctrine section, and we don't have anything like this, but I'm curious how that might play out for us. That, for example, you might be able to research improvements to your Blorts and Widgets throughout the game, but if you really want to commit to Blorts, you can get one more 'level' of Blort tech at the expense of forever losing access to some particular Widget tech. I don't think this kind of exclusive choice would or should be especially common, but it might be a nice touch here and there.
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#41 Post by Impaler » Sat Mar 05, 2005 7:05 pm

I have played many games in which these kinds of "A or B but not Both" kinds of things happen and I universaly disliked them. The system Aquitaine describes though sounds much better in that it is an optional comitment (esentialy giving you 3 choices rather then 2). But I question if this is realy desirable to give a bonus for specilization, I find in most games its diversity that needs to be encouraged. Moo1 did this with its tec system that penalized you for pumping all your efforts at one project (you lost more of the free bonus points that acumulate each turn). From a game play perspective it might be desirable to do the reverse and aplly some kind of specilization penalty or "Bleeding Edge Penalty" for haveing a single aplication Refined far beyond your average level of refinment.

My main remaining consern is how Refinment levels are unlocked, if it is simply possessing the previous level of Refinment then I think we will have a problem with players simply shooting strait to the top of the best tec right from the start of the game. Some means of forcing you to diversify and research other things is needed. My idea is to implement some kind of overall "Catagory Level" much like that in Moo1. Within each tec catagory the player will have a specific level # they have attained and whitch will be used to unlock all refinments. Geoff's initial Tec tree designs have a 7 layers to them so I sugjest we use this as our standard. A player will be at level X when they have researched a critical number (need to desided this later) of the Theories at and below that level (so they start the game at 0). When an aplication is completed it will be considerd to be of the same level of Refinment as the Theory it spawned from, each additional refinment adds one level. So for example a Thoery "Energy Death" is at the 3rd Level. One of its Aplications "Death Ray" is researched and gives you the Mk 3 Death Ray imediatly without passing though Mk 1 or 2. In order to Refine the DeathRay further you need to reach 4th level in the Catagory its under so you will need to research more Theories before progressing. Once we have this rule in place we can start to bend it by alowing you to "cheat" by one or more levels. Say for example you can refine up to level 5 when you only have level 4. This would also be an interesting means of bonus/penalty effects for races, say the Silicoids get +1 "Refinability" in Construction. They must still put in the work to get the bonus though so its not so much a "free lunch" as an oportunity.

The earliest tecs in the game can be progressivly refined untill they hit 7 (the highest alowable Refinment level). Mid game Aplications will start at higher refinment levels but can also be refined to 7. The final 7th level tecnologies in the game cant be refined because they are already at 7 when first discovered. In general devices that are equal in Refinment level are comperable in power. Mk 6 Laser is comperable to Mk 6 Nutrino Cannon even though laser is initional opened in the early game and Nurino Cannon in the very late game. With enough Refinment all devices can be viable.
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#42 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Mar 05, 2005 7:48 pm

Aquitaine wrote:I do agree (to some extent) that the theory name should, ideally, give the player some sense of what the applications are without having to look at them. But they should be distinct enough so it's not just 'Imperial Bank (Idea)' and 'Imperial Bank (building)', but I'm not worries about that because we'll have more than one application per theory. So if what Geoff is saying is that we should try and stick to some correlation between the name of the theory and the applications attached to it, then I'm with him.
You misunderstand. I don't want "Imperial Bank" as a theory, and then "Imperial Bank" as an application under that theory. I want "Interstellar Trade" or somesuch as a theory (as suggested in Economics) and an application called "Imperial Bank" which does nothing except unlock a building called "Imperial Bank". The point is that unlocking applications are called the same as what they unlock, and that unlocking applications only unlock the one thing which has the same name that they do. This is opposed to having an application called "Imperial Banking" that unlocks a building called "Treasury Department Headquarters" and enables the "Damage Credit Rating" economic attack option.
I don't think this kind of exclusive choice would or should be especially common, but it might be a nice touch here and there.
I don't think we need to do anything special to make this happen. Presumably the latter improvements to a particular technology thread would be sufficiently better and the initial cost of entry into a thread would be sufficiently high that it's strategically unwise to research both. If we really do want to "force" or "strongly suggest" that the player do one and not both, we could have techs that make something better, but also make the other thing worse at the same time...

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#43 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus » Sun Mar 06, 2005 7:27 pm

Aquitaine wrote: I've also been poking a bit at HoI2, which occasionally requires you to commit to one branch of a tech tree at the expense of another. It only really does this in the doctrine section, and we don't have anything like this, but I'm curious how that might play out for us. That, for example, you might be able to research improvements to your Blorts and Widgets throughout the game, but if you really want to commit to Blorts, you can get one more 'level' of Blort tech at the expense of forever losing access to some particular Widget tech. I don't think this kind of exclusive choice would or should be especially common, but it might be a nice touch here and there.
During our last year preeliminary discussion I suggested sth along those lines: i.e., each (or some) theory would not only unlock stuff, but increase and DECREASE chance of researching other theories. In my proposal player didn't had total control over which theories he could research like HoI, but rather it was MOO/SMAC-like - player chose the general goal (military, economy, etc.) and waited for one of available theories in this field to be discovered. As an example, discovering Space Fighters and Light Craft Theories/Doctrines would make discovering/construction of Capital Ships Techs less likely/more costly. This can be easily tailored to eliminate (or make optional) random theiries discoveries and go HoI2 way, which seems quite interesting to me.
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#44 Post by Aquitaine » Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:37 pm

I've gone over the effects guide (excelent work!) and some of the category contents. I will be updating the 'official list' threads this weekend and filling out descriptions for some of the techs that don't have them. I'm not too concerned about getting the game mechanics absolutely perfect for v0.3 since we'll be revising things so much down the road, but several of you are keeping a close eye on the actual tech effects, which I appreciate greatly.

Thanks agian for your patience!

Aq
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