AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

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Oberlus
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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#16 Post by Oberlus »

swaq wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:41 pm After thinking about this for a while I think I would slightly prefer just excluding engine parts from the colony base hull. Using the colony base hull this way is of extremely limited use and I think it would be more confusing to the player to try and explain the "feature". In addition the engine parts are supposed to be improvements to engines that are already capable of interstellar travel so I don't think just plopping them in a interplanetary ship should suddenly make it able to travel starlanes.
That works for me too.

I'm making a PR with the necessary changes to exclude engines from base hulls.

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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#17 Post by Morlic »

Should probably exclude fuel parts as well.
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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#18 Post by Oberlus »

Morlic wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:53 pm Should probably exclude fuel parts as well.
You're right.
Updating PR2885.

ThinkSome
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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#19 Post by ThinkSome »

Morlic wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:09 pm Unfortunately, the savegames do not cover the critical time where the AI considered to queue the ship.

My best guess is that you or another AI cut the supply network between Phad Alpha (where the ship was built) and any shipyard.
Which turn# do you need? I might still have them.

Yes, that is what probably happened. Wouldn't stockpiling be better than colony ships when (almost?) everything is already colonised?

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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#20 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:56 pm
Morlic wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:53 pm Should probably exclude fuel parts as well.
You're right.
Updating PR2885.
While I do not see a big benefit in base hull colony I think it anti-KISS to add artificial restrictions for this - we do not prevent the player from making bad ship designs. If you add artificial restrictions, you have to add, explain and maintain those. I think it would be more consistent that the base hull is just like any other hull, just zero base fuel and zero speed.

ThinkSome wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:20 pm
Morlic wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:09 pm Unfortunately, the savegames do not cover the critical time where the AI considered to queue the ship.

My best guess is that you or another AI cut the supply network between Phad Alpha (where the ship was built) and any shipyard.
Which turn# do you need? I might still have them.

Yes, that is what probably happened. Wouldn't stockpiling be better than colony ships when (almost?) everything is already colonised?
I agree with thinksome, AI should rather consider stockpiling. And I think that is the main issue here. What if base hull colony is not available - does AI build troop drops?
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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#21 Post by Oberlus »

Ophiuchus wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:43 pm While I do not see a big benefit in base hull colony I think it anti-KISS to add artificial restrictions for this - we do not prevent the player from making bad ship designs. If you add artificial restrictions, you have to add, explain and maintain those. I think it would be more consistent that the base hull is just like any other hull, just zero base fuel and zero speed.
I don't see these arguments:
  • No big benefit in base hull colony: More like no benefit at all.
  • Anti-KISS to add restrictions like this: We have similar restriction in many places: you can't mount more than one shield, more than one engine or more than one stealth part (needed for game balance).
  • Have to add, explain and maintain those: Not really. We don't explain why some parts are stackable and some aren't, it's a restriction and that's it, and when a new player tries to mount more than one engine s/he has to figure out why the ship design can't be saved by looking at the failed conditions or the Pedia (and there is no actual explanation, just a "can't", IIRC).
  • Not prevent the player from making bad ship designs: Well, that's true. I should have said that we are not interested on adding close-to-useless mechanics that work as a trap for uninformed players. This is related to the concept of no-brainers, like having weapons that are always better than other weapons, so it's a no-brainer to mount them and that reduces diversity: no-brainers are bad, we don't want them in the game. This base hull thingy would be close to a negative no-brainer: being almost-always a worse option and seldom-if-ever a similarly efficient option, it's a no-brainer to ignore mobile base hulls.
  • More consistent that base hull is like any other hull (so it can mount engines and fuel and whatnot): I don't have strong opinion on this. I think it's simpler to just leave base hull as it was ever: meant only for within-system travel. More so if we see there is almost no way it can be of any sensible benefit to use it with engines. At start I was against it because I thought it could be very useful and disrupt current balance. Then I was shown (swaq) that it would probably be the same or worse, so no disruption, and I thought "OK then", but then again I saw it could be perceived by some players as illogical (immersion breaking), and coupled with it's uselessness I still think it's better to forget about it.
Summing up, I'm not interested on having this "new" mechanic. However, if consensus is to keep it, it needs some Pedia articles adjustments, someone should do that.

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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#22 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:31 am
Ophiuchus wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:43 pm While I do not see a big benefit in base hull colony I think it anti-KISS to add artificial restrictions for this - we do not prevent the player from making bad ship designs. If you add artificial restrictions, you have to add, explain and maintain those. I think it would be more consistent that the base hull is just like any other hull, just zero base fuel and zero speed.
I don't see these arguments:
  • Anti-KISS to add restrictions like this: We have similar restriction in many places: you can't mount more than one shield, more than one engine or more than one stealth part (needed for game balance).
The restrictions we have currently concerning the hull type are only the slots which are available. So you introduce a new kind of difference.
Oberlus wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:31 am Have to add, explain and maintain those: Not really. We don't explain why some parts are stackable and some aren't, it's a restriction and that's it, and when a new player tries to mount more than one engine s/he has to figure out why the ship design can't be saved by looking at the failed conditions or the Pedia (and there is no actual explanation, just a "can't", IIRC).
What is your argument here? Adding more bad UI does not matter because UI is already bad?
Oberlus wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:31 am Not prevent the player from making bad ship designs: Well, that's true. I should have said that we are not interested on adding close-to-useless mechanics that work as a trap for uninformed players.
Well, that is what I mean. Being able to mount fuel and engine parts is not a mechanic we add. It is already there. It was always possible to build a completely useless base hull which could fly to other systems I think (t.metabolism plus engine parts) and it was not a problem. You want to add a mechanic in my opinion.

But as already said the colony base is a minor thing and I would also be ok with restricting it.

What I would still like to know what AI does when it is not supply connected. (Maybe I did miss it?)
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ThinkSome
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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#23 Post by ThinkSome »

Having restriction on which parts can be mounted in the base hull seems weird to me. I would rather that all hulls (except this base one) gain an engine slot and for a basic engine part to be added. Then the engine couplings part can be renamed to improved engine or something like that. Or rather "improved navigational computer", because it is hard to explain how a 100 speed ship can suddently move at 120 when near a lighthouse.

Perhaps the base hull should also be made substantially cheaper (or rather, all other hulls pricier).

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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#24 Post by Oberlus »

Ophiuchus wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:01 pm But as already said the colony base is a minor thing and I would also be ok with restricting it.
We need to settle this. Above arguments seems pointless. A poll?

What I would still like to know what AI does when it is not supply connected. (Maybe I did miss it?)
I just have no idea about this.

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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#25 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:25 pm
Ophiuchus wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:01 pm But as already said the colony base is a minor thing and I would also be ok with restricting it.
We need to settle this. Above arguments seems pointless. A poll?
agreed
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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#26 Post by Magnate »

I came here just to say I think this (mis)feature is an incredible compliment to the people behind FO's AI. The fact that it came up with it at all is amazing.

FWIW I'm with Ophiuchus and Thinksome - I rather like it and think that restricting it feels artificial.

I was interested in the counter that we already restrict engine and stealth parts to one per ship, without really explaining why (because balance). In fact I enjoyed playing FO for several years when you could stack engine parts, and it didn't really break the game at all. I'm sure there are lots of threads I haven't read ( ... ;-) ...) which explain why the decision was eventually taken to restrict them and double the benefit, but IMO it was not a big problem before. With stealth I think the limitation is simply a feature of the current maturity of the stealth mechanic - I can see stackable stealth being totally ok if a non-binary stealth mechanic is introduced.

But overall I think I agree with whoever said that having one (or more) design decisions which restrict choices or need explanatory upkeep or are otherwise inconsistent with KISS does not justify adding more.

That said, I also like the suggestion that engines (and perhaps stealth if we are never going non-binary) should have a special slot, so that it is more intuitively understandable why you can only have one. That way engine research becomes independent of hull research and Oberlus gets more choices to model!

And putting engines into a colony base hull totally doesn't break immersion for me ;-) ;-)

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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#27 Post by Oberlus »

Creating dedicated slots for engines restricts design choices: you can use that slot only for engines. Current way makes it as if there is a slot for engines that can be used instead for other stuff (shield, fighters, etc.), but only one slot.

Many engines allow for incredibly fast ships or (if engines nerfed) suboptimal designs because fighters and a shield might be better.

Allowing a single shield is obvious.

Stating in description "non-stackable" is readily understandable, just not what some players might like.

Not allowing non-linear stackable stats is KISS.

If you imagine a base hull as not prepared for interstellar travel...

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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#28 Post by AndrewW »

Oberlus wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:39 pm If you imagine a base hull as not prepared for interstellar travel...
The base hull can't withstand the stresses of interstellar travel.

I didn't mind engine parts stacking, though I agree shields shouldn't.

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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#29 Post by Magnate »

Oberlus wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:39 pm Creating dedicated slots for engines restricts design choices: you can use that slot only for engines. Current way makes it as if there is a slot for engines that can be used instead for other stuff (shield, fighters, etc.), but only one slot.

Many engines allow for incredibly fast ships or (if engines nerfed) suboptimal designs because fighters and a shield might be better.

Allowing a single shield is obvious.

Stating in description "non-stackable" is readily understandable, just not what some players might like.
Yes I agree with your last sentence. Is a single shield really obvious, when it goes in a slot that can alternatively have a hanger in it, and there's no limit on hangars? Most space games let you stack shields like you can stack weapons, with respect I don't think it is obvious.

The basic asymmetry in the design system is that hulls already start with some properties, they are not simply designs with different numbers of slots (which is the case in some other games of this type - MoO, Stellaris). They have innate structure, stealth and speed, all of which can also be obtained with parts. Structure parts are stackable while stealth and speed parts are not. This is definitely not KISS for a new player.

I would prefer hulls to have fewer intrinsic properties so that the designer has more control, but I agree this is harder to balance - we need fast stealthy ships to be weak, and strong ships to be slower, etc. So I don't propose radical change, but I think it is worth some more thought or discussion about stackable and unstackable slots.

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Re: AI Colony base travelling the starlanes

#30 Post by Oberlus »

Magnate wrote: Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:37 amIs a single shield really obvious, when it goes in a slot that can alternatively have a hanger in it, and there's no limit on hangars? Most space games let you stack shields like you can stack weapons, with respect I don't think it is obvious.
I meant (sorry for briefness) that allowing a single shield is obvious with current mechanics: a ship with two shields becomes untouchable.

In MoO shields were more like capacitors, in the sense of fast-regenerating-armor.
In other games stacked shields behave non linearly: 1 shield gives (e.g.) 3, two shields gives 5, a third one gives 6...
Both ways were discarded in FreeOrion years before I met the game. And I accept it. Any of the three ways is good, FreeOrion's is the most simple yet gives plenty of design choices and strategies.

Structure (also weapons, fuel and troops) parts are stackable while stealth and speed (also detection and shield) parts are not. This is definitely not KISS for a new player.
Seriously, that is not definitely not KISS. It is simple enough that some parts can be stacked and some can't. That is something rather simple to understand (when told). From FreeOrion's Philosophy:
K.I.S.S.
Is an acronym meaning "Keep It Simple, Stupid"

[*] You should be able to explain the basic rules to a reasonably clever child without difficulty.
[*] Making something operate in a really complicated way and then hiding it from the player or letting an AI manage it is not KISS. Nor does it give much value to the player.
[*] Any idea that adds any complexity needs to be weighed against the increase in strategic depth, or fun gameplay.
[*] When in doubt, choose the simplest possible solution. More details and rules can be more easily added than they can be subtracted.
[*] The real world could be used to explain an idea, but never to justify an idea -- the real world is seldom KISS.
[*] Given two competing ideas, we'll take the one that's more fun over the one that's more realistic, every time.
First, saying "non-stackable" is quite simple to understand (just maybe not simple to accept).
Second, it allows for very simple formulas and calculations, and removes the need for non-linear stackable increases or the gameplay undesired result of having huge ships (that were supposed to be slower than other small ships) running fast as hell because they have more internal slots (that are required nevertheless if you want huge ships to have many fighters or whatnot).
I think it is worth some more thought or discussion about stackable and unstackable slots.
Be my guest, but the forum is full of discussion about that regarding engines since maybe 2012 or older, and after such lengthy discussions the engines were made non-stackable some time in 2016 or 2017 (I dunno). I don't think we can come up with anything that wasn't discussed before, so I'm pretty sure engines will stay non-stackable.

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