Revised Stargate mechanics

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Dilvish
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Revised Stargate mechanics

#1 Post by Dilvish » Mon May 25, 2015 6:54 pm

EDIT by Vezzra: Split that topic from here. /EDIT
Vezzra wrote:Stargates should basically create a "network of wormholes", where each of your stargates is connected with each other of your stargates, and the pathfinding algorithm takes those in account automatically. Which will result in your fleets being able to jump from stargate systems to other stargate systems without delay. But that requires changes to the C++ code, we can't do that with FOCS.
I think I prefer this approach-- of needing to construct a stargate, but not needing to worry about focus, than the other approach of not needing to build individual stargates but then still needing to twiddle with focus. The no-focus approach definitely seems like less micromanagement. Although... it also does come to mind that this would make stargates tremendously more powerful. It's not just a matter of reducing micromanagement; in the current setup stargate travel requires a full turn, and you can only have one receiver, but this would let you have unlimited senders and receivers operating in parallel in optimum fashion, and a stargate jump could be just one leg of travel. It kind of makes me think that if we did this it should be some kind of very expensive upgrade tech from basic stargates. A yet more expensive tech upgrade and/or tremendously expensive building project could let you have the best of both worlds and not need to build individual stargates (essentially getting them automatically at colonies above a certain size) and not need to set focus.

The C++ engine side of things does start to seem fairly involved, but certainly do-able. This is closely related to wormhole travel (and we'd probably want to start by adding enough code to support wormhole travel, I think it's not all in place yet), but I don't think we'd really want these to be wormholes-- wormholes are a characteristic of the systems involved, and so inherently usable by anyone unless we added some kind of complicated visibility issue for them. I expect it would work better to add the stargate concept to the engine, but on the engine side it doesn't have to be tied in to any specific content. We could have a new empire attribute being a list of empire-specific stargates, and a new FOCS effect for adding an empire stargate. At the start of a turn, probably around the same time we do the supply update, each empire would have its stargates updated. The universe shortest path code would be updated to take these into account. IIRC, we don't use any algorithms that rely on this being a planar graph, so there really shouldn't be any real problem there. Then the fleet code movement routine would also need to be made stargate-aware so that it could follow the path correctly. And then finally we'd also need to decide how to display the fleet path in the MapWnd-- I suppose an off-round path as if along an imaginary starlane from start to destination would be ok & fairly simple to implement.
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#2 Post by MatGB » Mon May 25, 2015 9:01 pm

Heh, I like it when threads get sidetracked and someone comes up with a much better plan than the one I was working on. I like the sound of that. Completely beyond me, obviously, but, well, sounds good.

I'm also guessing that the AI could learn to use that a lot easier than the current building+focus approach.
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Vezzra
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#3 Post by Vezzra » Tue May 26, 2015 6:57 pm

Dilvish wrote:this would make stargates tremendously more powerful.
Yes, absolutely, and of course this has to be countered. One obvious way to do that would be to make them very expensive, both to research and to produce. But this can't be the only answer to all very powerful items/elements. In this case an idea would be to have to dedicate an entire planet to operate a stargate: a planet on which a stargate has been built can't set any foci. This is a considerable price, as you'd have to pay that price for each single stargate. If we want to be even nastier, require a high infrastructure for that building, so you have to sacrifice a sufficiently developed planet.

And/or require certain strategic resources (supply connected to certain specials / neutronium extractor / black hole generator), etc.
It kind of makes me think that if we did this it should be some kind of very expensive upgrade tech from basic stargates.
If by "basic stargates" you mean those that are operated by focus setting, that's a road I'd not want to take - because of the "buy ease of use" / "reduce of micromanagement" by spending research and/or production approach.
A yet more expensive tech upgrade and/or tremendously expensive building project could let you have the best of both worlds and not need to build individual stargates (essentially getting them automatically at colonies above a certain size) and not need to set focus.
Such an upgrade really needs to be very expensive, but yeah, definitely sounds interesting.
but I don't think we'd really want these to be wormholes-- wormholes are a characteristic of the systems involved, and so inherently usable by anyone unless we added some kind of complicated visibility issue for them. I expect it would work better to add the stargate concept to the engine, but on the engine side it doesn't have to be tied in to any specific content.
Of course, that's actually exactly how I've envisioned it myself. I didn't want to suggest to actually use the wormhole mechanic, I just used the terms to describe how I thought the new stargate mechanics should work.
And then finally we'd also need to decide how to display the fleet path in the MapWnd-- I suppose an off-round path as if along an imaginary starlane from start to destination would be ok & fairly simple to implement.
I guess that's a point where we'll need a bit discussion and probably some experimenting. If we decide to show those stargate jumps on the map, it definitely should be different from the normal "path dots" (most important less prominent, as these lines will go criss-cross over the map).

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#4 Post by Dilvish » Tue May 26, 2015 8:02 pm

Vezzra wrote:If by "basic stargates" you mean those that are operated by focus setting, that's a road I'd not want to take - because of the "buy ease of use" / "reduce of micromanagement" by spending research and/or production approach.
My thinking was motivated more by the substantial increase in power-- being able to do multiple different such transfers to different destinations in parallel is far more than just reducing micromanagement. Getting a hull with more slots may incidentally mean we don't need to deal with as many ships, but we don't object to paying research for that just because it also reduces micromanagement.
If we decide to show those stargate jumps on the map, it definitely should be different from the normal "path dots" (most important less prominent, as these lines will go criss-cross over the map).
It's not like these lines would show up normally. The systems that have a stargate could be flagged in some way, but always showing all the possible stargate jumps could get quite messy. I expect the stargate jumps would only show if movement path for the currently selected fleet used such a jump, and then only that jump (or jumps) would show. It may be easy enough to change the color or size of the dots, but it hardly seems to matter to me; it seems it will be apparent enough that it's not along a starlane.
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#5 Post by marcOSX » Wed May 27, 2015 9:01 am

One of the way to limit the "abuse" of stargate jumping could be that your ships might be damaged at each jump, say 30% change of receiving 5-15% structure damage.

I agree stargates should be shown on the map. Many times I had to browse planets to remember where on hell I built the closest transformer to destination.

I would say those "automatic" stargates may be built in specific systems, like a blackhole or red star. Or with a special, like artificial moon that may be buildable. I imagine stargates as pretty imposing stuff, like another planet in the system.

Another idea would be them to link only to a specific target or requiring a specific population to operate them. Imagine for instance that acirema planets can communicate with others (maybe not even discovered yet). You would have to defend those places against possible attacks from outer space... Acirema people seem pretty fit for the task of operating stargates.

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#6 Post by Vezzra » Wed May 27, 2015 11:24 am

Dilvish wrote:My thinking was motivated more by the substantial increase in power-- being able to do multiple different such transfers to different destinations in parallel is far more than just reducing micromanagement.
Yeah, I know, and I definitely don't want to deny that point - it's perfectly valid. But that doesn't change the fact that there is a tremendous difference in micromanagement. So much, that my concern is that the incentive for the player to upgrade to the far more powerful version of stargates we want to introduce here might be too much the prospect of getting rid of the excessive micromanagement, and not primarily the prospect of getting an enhanced, more powerful stargate network. And that's something I'm not happy with at all, TBH.

If, OTOH, we can come up with a solution that lets us use the "basic" version of stargates without the (or at least far less) micromanagement hassles of having to switch around foci, then I'm definitely all for doing that.
Getting a hull with more slots may incidentally mean we don't need to deal with as many ships, but we don't object to paying research for that just because it also reduces micromanagement.
Now, I don't think that you can even remotely compare these two. The benefit in reduced micromanagememt that you gain by using fewer, but larger ships is negligible compared to the benefit in reduced micromanagement when you can use the "advanced" stargates instead of the "basic" ones. At least that's how I feel.
I expect the stargate jumps would only show if movement path for the currently selected fleet used such a jump, and then only that jump (or jumps) would show.
Ok, that sounds very good, should definitely work. I really like that suggestion :D

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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#7 Post by Chriss » Wed May 27, 2015 12:13 pm

Chriss wrote:I thought about the idea of stargates beeing "fixed" two way shortcuts, too. Apart from the additional hassle in setting them up, it may be a good compromise between the micro hassle now and the uber-powerfull MOO2 variant of everything is instantly connected...
Stargates could require a Gas Giant to construct, and a Gas Giant Generator. Or a similar Power Source - Black Hole, Yellow or Blue Star, maybe?
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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#8 Post by Sloth » Wed May 27, 2015 12:54 pm

I'm very much in favor of changing Stargates to be constructible and not require focus.
Chriss wrote:Stargates could require a Gas Giant to construct, and a Gas Giant Generator.
And when a Stargate is present the Gas Giant Generator will no longer grant its bonus to the planets in the system. That would be similar to an upkeep cost. i like that.
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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#9 Post by Vezzra » Thu May 28, 2015 1:49 pm

Sloth wrote:
Chriss wrote:Stargates could require a Gas Giant to construct, and a Gas Giant Generator.
And when a Stargate is present the Gas Giant Generator will no longer grant its bonus to the planets in the system. That would be similar to an upkeep cost. i like that.
Hm, sounds intriguing, but I wonder if that will be enough. Gas giants are very common, and judging by my own experience I normally don't build Gas Giant Generators in every system where I have both gas giants and other planets. Usually there are a couple of those systems the colonies of which get dedicated to research, and I'd put my stargates in there. I'd have to build the GGG then there too of course, but that would be an additional one-time investment only. I won't really loose any production, as the colonies in these systems are set to research anyway.

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#10 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu May 28, 2015 11:45 pm

Dilvish wrote:
If we decide to show those stargate jumps on the map, it definitely should be different from the normal "path dots" (most important less prominent, as these lines will go criss-cross over the map).
It's not like these lines would show up normally. The systems that have a stargate could be flagged in some way, but always showing all the possible stargate jumps could get quite messy. I expect the stargate jumps would only show if movement path for the currently selected fleet used such a jump, and then only that jump (or jumps) would show.
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=7032

Travel paths that use a wormhole or stargate (which should just create a wormhole, really...) would go into the wormhole lane connecting to a system, and out the other end's wormhole lane, then continue the path plotting as normal.

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Re: Revised Stargate mechanics

#11 Post by Bigjoe5 » Fri May 29, 2015 12:17 am

It might be an interesting drawback if any empire could traverse your stargates. Then there would be more emphasis on protecting that resource, and a tradeoff between allowing your ships to get to the front lines faster and risking enemy ships getting to your core worlds through your stargate. And if ships get close, do you scrap the stargate so they can't use it, or do you accept that a few ships might get through your stargate in anticipation of reclaiming that space?

Anyway, this whole thread should be in the "Other Game Design" board, don't you think?
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#12 Post by Dilvish » Fri May 29, 2015 12:43 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:Travel paths that use a wormhole or stargate (which should just create a wormhole, really...)
Wormholes, to the limited extent they are currently implemented and to the extent currently contemplated, would still just have two ends, more akin to starlanes but crossing longer distances without concern for the nearness of triangulation connectedness, and not requiring travel time (to my understanding). What we're contemplating now for stargates is a many:many linking; it's possible it could still use what was contemplated as a wormhole UI element if that's deemed best suited for stargates also, but the distinction is significant enough I don't think we need to constrained to necessarily use the same UI element. Particularly since that wormhole UI element hasn't yet been actually implemented and may simply be unnecessary for this.
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#13 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri May 29, 2015 12:51 am

Dilvish wrote:...stargates is a many:many linking...
Is that substantially different from just having wormholes connecting every pair of stargates that are produced by a player (or all stargates regardless of ownership)?

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#14 Post by Dilvish » Fri May 29, 2015 2:14 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Dilvish wrote:...stargates is a many:many linking...
Is that substantially different from just having wormholes connecting every pair of stargates that are produced by a player (or all stargates regardless of ownership)?
There are certainly substantial similarities, but significant distinctions as well. Some significant motivators for the UI element proposed in the thread you linked to were (i) to flag to the player that there is a wormhole to be explored, and (ii) provide the player a way to use the wormhole --
eleazar wrote:If you target your fleet on it, the feel will end up at the other end the next turn.
Since point (ii) would not at all apply to the contemplated stargate travel, and point (i) not really, I would reiterate the opinion that
Dilvish wrote:the distinction is significant enough I don't think we need to constrained to necessarily use the same UI element.
Here we don't necessarily need a new UI element at all. If the currently selected fleet has a movepath through a stargate I suspect it would work best to show that offroad stargate path as part of the prospective movepath, but I suppose it might not be absolutely necessary. Though we would probably prefer to have an indicator of the presence of a stargate, it wouldn't need to be nearly so substantial as the one proposed for wormholes-- here it could be something as minor as appending a " *" to the system name on the MapWnd.
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#15 Post by MatGB » Fri May 29, 2015 4:00 am

Dilvish wrote:here it could be something as minor as appending a " *" to the system name on the MapWnd.
Pretty please. Can we, y'know, have that ASAP anyway?

I don't think the route/line between gates needs to be shown, merely have the start/endpoint highlighted in some way, perhaps change the colour of the circling indicator or something.

Possible use the waypoint mechanic, shift clicking on a gate system means you want to use the gate to get somewhere?
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