Outpost ships vs colony ships

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MatGB
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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#16 Post by MatGB »

defaultuser wrote: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.
It would be xenophobia, and worth noting that's not finished yet, we're planning/hoping to have xenophobes unable to build ships at a planet without at least X happiness (probably, short term, 5), but the only reason it's not implemented is the AI team have far more important things to work on and it'll take some work for them, we're going to probably give each xenophobe a preferred focus to at least give them a chance.

Note: the happiness malus is for each populated planet within 5 jumps within your empire that doesn't have a concentration camp to kill the nasty squidgy things, the idea is they're a completely different approach to the game, you actually have to be nasty to use them.

I look forward to us being able to implement that but it's not going to be immediately (unless someone that groks python wants to give it a try on the AI side).

@Vezzra, I think the current balance between the costings is about right, it's rarely, if ever, better to build a ship over an outpost plus colony, if it is better it's because of supply issues or other strategic concerns. And I'm good with that. Gets more and more true as the game goes on with the upkeep multipliers.

Whether the cost of colonising in general compared to other things is balanced is of course a different discussion.
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toolforger
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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#17 Post by toolforger »

Actually I think the trade-off is strongly in favor of outpost ships already.
The numbers seem to favor colony ships slightly.
However, there is a capital cost: Deciding to build a colony ship ties your resources for many turns, and you do not have enough information about your environment to know whether you can really afford that kind of wait. Building an outpost ship means you can continue to build war ships or troop ships depending on what your scouts find, and I find that flexiblity really important.
Later in the game, the micromanagement means you do not want to build a colony ship, ever. The extra turn - meh, okay, colony ships might be favorable if you are evacuating the galaxy because you want a single species everywhere.
When I storm into enemy territory, I tend to have a dozen or so outpost ships with the troop ships, so colonize anything that the enemy didn't colonize for me. I'd need another half dozen for each extra species that I'd want to be able to colonize with, which means looking for the right planet that can build colony ships for that species. It's a huge micromanagement hassle. I was SO glad to see the outpost colonisation approach :-)

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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#18 Post by defaultuser »

I guess I'm not clear what the objection is. Why do you care if someone wants to spend some extra points to pick up one turn? If you really want to change things, I guess you could have the colony establish on the turn that the colony start building is produced, so that the ships would have no advantage, just extra cost.

But again, why? It's not like some giant loophole that people are exploiting or is causing a huge imbalance against the AIs. Probably 99% of colonizations will be through outposts. A few corner cases will be advantage colony ship or as in the case I mentioned above, the only way sometimes even on the production lanes.

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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#19 Post by defaultuser »

MatGB wrote:Note: the happiness malus is for each populated planet within 5 jumps within your empire that doesn't have a concentration camp to kill the nasty squidgy things, the idea is they're a completely different approach to the game, you actually have to be nasty to use them.
They're good in terms of piloting, but a pain in that the "don't play well with others". However, if you don't get lucky enough to find Mu Ursh or something, you make do with what you have.

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Vezzra
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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#20 Post by Vezzra »

defaultuser wrote:I guess I'm not clear what the objection is. Why do you care if someone wants to spend some extra points to pick up one turn?
The problem I meant is something different: the outpost+colony building approach is much less micromanagement than the old colony ship approach. Now, if the colony ship approach is even slightly more cost effective (that is, cheaper), then the player is confronted with the choice between playing a less optimal game (when using outpost ship+colony building) or having to put up with increased micromanagement (when using colony ships). This is against our design philosophy. The player should not have to pay with in-game resources to be able to avoid micromanagement.
If you really want to change things, I guess you could have the colony establish on the turn that the colony start building is produced, so that the ships would have no advantage, just extra cost.
Well, that's not possible because of how the backend engine works, but the same could be achieved by shortening the build time for the colony building. That would be a very good idea.

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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#21 Post by toolforger »

Vezzra wrote:Now, if the colony ship approach is even slightly more cost effective (that is, cheaper), then the player is confronted with the choice between playing a less optimal game (when using outpost ship+colony building) or having to put up with increased micromanagement (when using colony ships). This is against our design philosophy. The player should not have to pay with in-game resources to be able to avoid micromanagement.
Good point.
However, colony ships as they work today start to get micro-managy pretty quickly.
Ideally, you want to have the colony ship ready to colonize any planet as soon as it comes under your control. This means knowing where the matching shipyard is, knowing how many of the colony ships being built there aren't yet assigned, knowing when they will be ready, and knowing how long they will take to arrive. It's pure logistics with lots of ahead-of-time microplanning, which you have to redo whenever something unexpected happens (such as the loss of an industry planet, or severed supply lines).
It's okay if the unexpected throws you back, but if micromanagement is to be avoided, it's not okay to have to recalculate every single frigging colony ship's eta on any build queue in the empire.

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MatGB
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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#22 Post by MatGB »

Observation:

In the early to mid game micromanagement isn't a major hassle and there may be, in some circumstances, where the source colony building the ship is of the same species and close enough, a minor advantage to building ships.

But in the later game, Lifecycle Manipulation changes that, three population starting is a massive advantage within the current population growth setup and the new colony using a building completes in less time as Cryonic Pods are a ten turn build.

Plus, the building gets the growth on the turn it's built, and the Force/Energy bonus, which makes the extra turn relatively irrelevent.
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defaultuser
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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#23 Post by defaultuser »

I agree with Mat. Early on, micromanagement isn't a big deal because it's only a few items. It's not like the pre-4.5 versions where you had to plan and manage multiple colonizing sources and targets. I used to sometimes have a build sheet with which world was building the colony ship and where it was intended to go. Otherwise I'd sometimes forget, or send it to the wrong place, or build two for the same world.

Another usage of colony ships that comes in handy is when you have world with a good planet but has a maintenance ship that you have to grind away with low-level early warships. Then it's nice to have a colony ship parked or largely built to minimize the time for colonization. Again, for the most part, these are corner cases. Most of the time the regular outpost + colony start are the way to go.

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Cpeosphoros
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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#24 Post by Cpeosphoros »

About micromanagement of colony ships (and, to some extent outpost ships, also - even 3 turns in mid-to-late game with a high-production setup is time enough to start forgetting things), there was a suggestion in another thread - I can't find it now, less so remember who suggested it - that we could issue orders to ships while they are enqueued.

That could, in a minor way, IMO, mitigate the hassle of remembering which ship was supposed to end where. The downside I see in this approach would be cluttering the production queue with separate Colony/Outpost ship orders for each place, instead of multiple-queueing them.
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toolforger
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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#25 Post by toolforger »

This would need to be complemented with a list of ETAs for a system. Otherwise, you wouldn't know whether a colony ship is already enqueued for it.
I'd appreciate such an ETA list, actually. It would help not just with colonization but also with knowing whether all intended fleets will arrive in time for a fight.

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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#26 Post by Scara »

Hi,

I actually like to have the choice about using Outpost or Colony ships, although I use Outpost ships most of the time.
In earlier times I as well had problems of mixing up destinations...
As starting condition I like the colony ship, as it increases the colonising reach.
If you have lots of fittings planets around the 2 outposter are the better choice than one colonyship.
If enviromental fitting planets are a bit further away 1 Colonyship might be better, but hard to tell.
I suggest to take both in as starting condition:
1 scout, 1 outpost ship, 1 colony ship, 1 frigate

The new colonising system is great for reducing micromanagement, but as Vezzra wrote
The player should not have to pay with in-game resources to be able to avoid micromanagement.
I like toolforger's request for a ETA list, I guess it could look a bit similar like the objects list, but with system, species, eta, buildingtime, weapons, structure, shields, orders, fleet, ...
If it's possible to identify ships already in production to give them orders, it would greatly improve the colony ship micromanagement problem.
I guess it might be a great improvement for fleetmanagement overall, as something like this is still missing in the game.
For Example: If you're late game, save and pause a day or two, come back then and try to get an overview about your fleets. Looking for a ship of special design you have to go to Design screen, look up the design to get the names of the ships but not their locations on a view...
I really don't know if it is possible, but a solution for giving ships orders that haven't been build yet, might be showing them as soon as they get production queued at a system as ghostships, giving the icon some transparency. Not able to be attacked (might be changed some time :wink: ) or to move, but already able to recieve orders showing the ETA as buildtime+ETA.
Having finished building the ship, the icon becomes solid and it starts its flight.
The described approach would be compatible with a Fleets list

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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#27 Post by Scara »

Another idea I had was offering a mixed species colony ship at some point in the research tree maybe connected to trans-organic sentience. I think of some sort of alien hippy party ship with lots of intelligent food and drinks, making optimized use of the available room, in respect to the ecological habits of the passengers :lol:
Using it like a Outpostship, colonizing a planet and choosing the colonizing species, but the production time colonizing takes only 1 turn and costs are 0.
Logically the colonizing strength should be a bit lower than an one species Colony ship. If it is possible the colonization strength might further be linked to the availability of the three big species classes organic, lithic and robotic...
Don't know if that would be easy to implement, just an idea :roll:

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Cpeosphoros
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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#28 Post by Cpeosphoros »

Scara wrote:I like toolforger's request for a ETA list, I guess it could look a bit similar like the objects list, but with system, species, eta, buildingtime, weapons, structure, shields, orders, fleet, ...
I started a new topic: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9932 about better Objects view. Please feel free to add those suggestions there too.
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toolforger
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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#29 Post by toolforger »

That's a much more fundamental proposal than having an ETA list, so I'd prefer to keep the discussions separate.

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Cpeosphoros
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Re: Outpost ships vs colony ships

#30 Post by Cpeosphoros »

toolforger wrote:That's a much more fundamental proposal than having an ETA list, so I'd prefer to keep the discussions separate.
Agreed. That's why I opened a new topic... :D
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