Outpost ships vs colony ships

Describe your experience with the latest version of FreeOrion to help us improve it.

Moderator: Oberlus

Forum rules
Always mention the exact version of FreeOrion you are testing.

When reporting an issue regarding the AI, if possible provide the relevant AI log file and a save game file that demonstrates the issue.
Message
Author
Ruldra
Krill Swarm
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:54 am

Outpost ships vs colony ships

#1 Post by Ruldra »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but at the moment (release version 0.4.5) I see no reason to ever build colony ships to colonize planets. Outpost ships are better in every regard when it comes to that.

- The total PP cost of building an outpost ship + colony is lower than building a colony ship;
- CS needs 3 population to build one, OS can be built right away;
- Building an OS takes 3 turns, then 5 more to build a colony while a CS takes 8 turns to build. Same number of turns but the fact that you can finish an OS quicker means you can take a planet for yourself earlier;
- OS alows you to choose which species you want to populate the planet with, among the ones in your empire. CS is stuck with whatever species built it.

Only reason I can think of to ever use a CS is to colonize a planet far from your supply lines, but doing that is generally a bad idea and will leave it open for enemy attacks.

So yeah, CS is useless in my eyes. I was pretty surprised in particular at how much cheaper it is to build a OS + colony instead of a CS. I don't remember the exact number but it makes a huge difference early in the game.

defaultuser
Juggernaut
Posts: 758
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#2 Post by defaultuser »

Remember that colony starts at outposts can only work if on a supply line. One can build a colony via ship directly on a system off the lines. Colony drops at a system can also make senses if an existing planet would support that (and it's a good species choice). Otherwise it's generally better to use outposts.

User avatar
MatGB
Creative Contributor
Posts: 3310
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:45 pm

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#3 Post by MatGB »

All of this is correct except one thing. Colony ships aren't useless, they've been, deliberately, made less useful in the mid to late game but retain some uses, specifically out of supply planets, especially in the early game.

The colony buildings mechanics are new(ish), about 6 months in now, and still effectively being tested, they might get some cost balancing at some point but currently I think it's about right compared to other, more problematic, areas.

There is one delay though, a colony is 8 turns plus travel, an outpost is 3 turns plus a minimum of 5 turns and then an extra turn for the building to complete and turn itself into an actual colony. Marginal, unavoidable, and not in my mind problematic.

We have discussed switching the start of game colony ship with one or two outpost ships, but haven't decided fully yet, besides which in the very early game supply is a problem and it might be a really bad idea.
Mat Bowles

Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

User avatar
Kassiopeija
Dyson Forest
Posts: 212
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:14 pm
Location: Black Forest

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#4 Post by Kassiopeija »

additional beneficial factors of outposters over colonizers:
- outposters can be build everywhere regardless of species, so this is going to save you alot of travel-time, because you could use the very nearest shipyard
- if you are using specialized outposters that require an extra shipyard (or two) you don't have to repeatedly build these on any extra species world
- it is easier to support a single planet via lighthouses/stargate to speed colonization up than if your shipyards are splattered around your territory
- your loss of production when your ships are destroyed by hostiles is greater when using colony ships.

User avatar
Vezzra
Release Manager, Design
Posts: 5398
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:56 pm
Location: Sol III

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#5 Post by Vezzra »

Ruldra wrote:Only reason I can think of to ever use a CS is to colonize a planet far from your supply lines
That's exactly what colony ships are intended to be used for. So what you observed is how things have been designed to be (I'm the one who implemented these new colonizing mechanics, btw). :)
but doing that is generally a bad idea and will leave it open for enemy attacks.
Not necessarily. As Mat already pointed out, especially in early game colony ships can be crucial, when your supply range is still quite limited and some valuable planet(s) are just outside of your supply range. Being able to catch one of those or not can have a quite dramatic impact on your development.

Angular
Space Krill
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:37 am

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#6 Post by Angular »

MatGB wrote: We have discussed switching the start of game colony ship with one or two outpost ships, but haven't decided fully yet, besides which in the very early game supply is a problem and it might be a really bad idea.
I can see your point, but I don't like this change. The beginning is the one point where a colony ship is really useful and outpost ships are the one thing I can use all that starting production on while I switch to research. I actually like the way it's currently handled.

toolforger
Space Floater
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 6:31 pm

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#7 Post by toolforger »

I actually like the change.
I had to build shipyards for each race, I had to remember where each was, I had to keep a fleet of colony ships at hand wherever I was pushing forward, for each environment, just to be able to colonize freshly available planets quickly. I also have to keep an eye on every colonization fleet to replenish it in time. Worse: When I build a colony ship, when the ship is built, I do not really know which of my fleets the newly built ships were intended for.
I still have to keep a fleet of outposters around, but it is just one fleet. And I can't accidentally colonize with the wrong race anymore. This has been a huge time-saver for me.

The point that I do not really see is that the initial colony ship makes a real difference. Yes it does happen that a colonizable planet is just out of range, but this phase of the game is about exponential growth (well, Fibonaccy but anyway), and every turn counts - five turns earlier means a huge advantage.
And an out-of-range planet is usually too deep into enemey territory anyway. You are just inviting a quick invasion if you colonize it.

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12722
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#8 Post by Geoff the Medio »

toolforger wrote:Yes it does happen that a colonizable planet is just out of range, but this phase of the game is about exponential growth (well, Fibonaccy but anyway), and every turn counts - five turns earlier means a huge advantage.
And an out-of-range planet is usually too deep into enemey territory anyway. You are just inviting a quick invasion if you colonize it.
The importance of having colony ships available depends a good deal on what galaxy generation settings were. Low starlane density, fewer planets, fewer natives, a narrow planet tolerance starting species or poor supply species, or combinations, would make it more useful...

toolforger
Space Floater
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 6:31 pm

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#9 Post by toolforger »

Ah I see.
Since the initial colony ships are essentially for free anyway, it's a minor point anyway.

defaultuser
Juggernaut
Posts: 758
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#10 Post by defaultuser »

I still make some colony ships even for targets within supply lines if there's a good species with a shipyard nearby. Why not? Sure, outpost ships + colony buildings are the bulk of the effort, but the old way works fine too.

Ruldra
Krill Swarm
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:54 am

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#11 Post by Ruldra »

defaultuser wrote:I still make some colony ships even for targets within supply lines if there's a good species with a shipyard nearby. Why not? Sure, outpost ships + colony buildings are the bulk of the effort, but the old way works fine too.
If your target is within supply lines, you are paying a much higher PP cost for no reason.

defaultuser
Juggernaut
Posts: 758
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#12 Post by defaultuser »

Ruldra wrote:
defaultuser wrote:I still make some colony ships even for targets within supply lines if there's a good species with a shipyard nearby. Why not? Sure, outpost ships + colony buildings are the bulk of the effort, but the old way works fine too.
If your target is within supply lines, you are paying a much higher PP cost for no reason.
Remember that you have to include both the cost of the outpost ship and the colony start building. As an example, at the start of game I fired up a colony ship took 148 PP and 8 turns. An outpost ship was 73 PP and 3 turns with a colony start at 53 PP and 5+1 turns (remember that it takes one more turn after the colony start is produced for the colony to be "established"). So the total for the latter method is 126 PP. You give up about 20 PP for the colony ship, but get it established one turn sooner. Whether that one turn is worth the points is something the individual would need to decide.

With exobots, it's probably nearly a wash as their colony starts are more expensive so that they can be built outside of the production lanes. I haven't checked those numbers precisely.

toolforger
Space Floater
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 6:31 pm

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#13 Post by toolforger »

It's essentially worth a full turn of whatever the colony can ramp up to. That's more than 20 PPs, usually much more.
Outposts are much more flexible though. You can decide after colonization what race you want to have, you don't need a shipyard for the race, you don't risk losing the ship on the way.

If your starlanes are reasonably safe, and you already have the shipyard, did not have any spare PPs yet and just start building the ship to colonize a given planet, a colony ship is better.
If you need to build a colonization fleet just in case you stumble upon a planet, or don't have the shipyard&facilities, or don't want to build these just for colonization, then outposts are much better.

defaultuser
Juggernaut
Posts: 758
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#14 Post by defaultuser »

Another use for colony ships came up in a game I just played. I had Eaxaw as a conquered species, and on some compatible worlds they wouldn't build colony starts or in one case started then switched the turns to "Never". I'm guessing xenophobic interference from too many other inhabited planets or lack of Eaxaw planets with sufficient "happiness" or something. I was able to bring colony ships to those worlds.

User avatar
Vezzra
Release Manager, Design
Posts: 5398
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:56 pm
Location: Sol III

Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#15 Post by Vezzra »

That's not really how the balance between the two colonization approaches (outpost ship + colony building vs. colony ship) has been intended. The outpost ship + colony building approach should be the "normal"/"standard" way to colonize new planets, its distinct disadvantage being that it only works within supply range. The colony ship approach should be the clearly more expensive one for the special case of colonizing planets outside supply range (which is its distinct advantage).

What I definitely wanted to avoid is a situation where the player might be able to play a more optimal game if he is willing to put up with some extra micromanagement (colony ships). Looks like we didn't fully succeed with that. I'd wanted to make the outpost ship + colony building approach cheaper, but others have been against it, so we ended up with the current numbers. However, if that is how things are playing out now, I very strongly suggest to either raise the costs for colony ships or lower the costs for the outpost ship + colony building combo. Personally I'd prefer the latter, I'd go with a reduction of the outpost ship costs.

Thoughts?

Post Reply