What to do about Infrastructure?

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Krikkitone
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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#31 Post by Krikkitone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:34 pm

A general PP investment That broadly boosted the empire would be interesting.

The difficulty is with things like sliders that would be needed for that.

One possible option is that Infrastructure is the "remainder" ie all PP Not spent on ships/buildings, etc. goes to improving infrastructure.

That Infrastructure could then be used as the measure for any 'do it broadly, but with cost' type things. (ie Terraforming)

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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#32 Post by davidescott » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:45 pm

Krikkitone wrote:The difficulty is with things like sliders that would be needed for that.
I really don't get the hatred people have for sliders. I understand that a choice between 33.6% and 33.7% is not important. Simple solution to that -- don't make the slider that fine-grained.

I'm thinking of roughly 5/6 discrete choices:
  • -2 is rapid infrastructure loss, with a production bonus (tearing copper wires out of buildings to feed the need for ships).
  • -1 is slow decay. Not bothering to fix the leaky pipe in the apartment building, but no cost to PP
  • 0 is maintenance of existing infrastructure but no growth in infrastructure, very modest cost to PP
  • 1 growth to keep up with the population, normal cost [but in line with growth so it balances out and the percentage spent each turn stays roughly constant]
  • 2 growth to exceed the population, high cost
  • 3 rapid growth of infrastructure, very high cost [something that could not be sustained in wartime]
One possible option is that Infrastructure is the "remainder" ie all PP Not spent on ships/buildings, etc. goes to improving infrastructure.
One problem is that you don't really control what the remainder is (at least not early game) because the PP cost of a single advanced ship in the early game may be a substantial fraction of ones total production. Early game you might be spending all the PP on 1 colony ship and 1 heavy cruiser, which means no infrastructure growth. Its also awkward to explain to the player that having left-over production is not a bad thing.

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Krikkitone
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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#33 Post by Krikkitone » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:01 pm

Well if it was settings, I'd go for

Maintain (no changer in Inf, PP is spent on maintenance before anything else)
Don't maintain (it will decline)

And then excess PP will be used to increase Inf. (you wan't More Inf stop building so many ships)

2 settings, should work fine.

And It wouldn't be complicated (the last "item" on the production queue would be "Infrastructure")

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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#34 Post by Telos » Thu May 09, 2013 5:20 am

I agree with folks who think the current infrastructure system doesn't do enough to be worth keeping.

As far as I can tell, the only things that infrastructure currently does are:

(1) to make your shields recharge faster

(2) to provide something for bombardment to blow up, and

(3) to provide a sort of disincentive against building buildings.

The functionality of (1) and (2) could both be easily be redirected to the production and/or research meters. I.e., let bombardment slowly decay production and/or research (probably at a slower rate, the less of this remains), and let the remaining value of those meters determine how quickly the shields will recharge (at faster rates for higher levels).

Item (3) seems to be of quite questionable value. If we really want to limit buildings, there's probably a better way to do that -- e.g., let the cost of adding extra buildings to the same planet go up, much as the cost of building extra ships goes up the more you have.

Those three uses aren't worth the complexity and confusion of making players learn an extra meter. So, I think we should *either* do away with infrastructure *or* give it more interesting work to do.

(4) Infrastructure could somehow modify/enhance some of the other things that planets do, including population growth, research, detection, supply, and/or production of buildings (but perhaps not of ships?). E.g., it might make sense to have infrastructure contribute to production or research, as I think it did in past builds. And it might make sense to say that, without planetary infrastructure, planetary sensors or supply only operate at 70% range, and this will gradually increase to 100% as infrastructure approaches some threshold.

(5) Some of the techs that currently provide bonuses proportional to population could be shifted to instead provide bonuses proportional to infrastructure. Which of these techs you should research first would then depend on how much infrastructure you expect to have.

(6) Different species could be differentiated in part by how much infrastructure they build and/or by how quickly they (re)build it. This opens up a very interesting space for strategies involving low-population high-infrastructure species, and other strategies involving high-population low-infrastructure species. Doing something like this could definitely help to add more depth/flavor to the choice of species.

(7) There could be more techs and buildings that affect infrastructure, allowing people the flexibility to intentionally develop infrastructure. (This could also be done with a slider, but everything else in this game seems to be done with global techs and/or local buildings, so for the sake of consistency, probably makes sense to do infrastructure boosts the same way).

Anyway, I generally like the idea of having infrastructure automatically build up and be useful largely without any micromanagement, yet with some flavor available for different species, and strategic depth available for folks who want to pursue particular strategies. So maybe infrastructure could be worth keeping after all.

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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#35 Post by Zireael » Thu May 09, 2013 7:55 am

Bonuses based on infrastructure used to be in the game, but were removed when removal of infrastructure was anticipated.

I agree, either make it more interesting or remove it completely...

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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#36 Post by MatGB » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:13 pm

An idea:

One of the balance problems that gets mentioned sometimes is the mid to late game abiltiy to spam fleets very quickly, and all at the front line/recently captured planets.

How about tying infrastructure in to the ability to import/export production? You'd need to change the numbers, but if a planet can't export more production than it has infrastructure, nor import more, then it would force fleet construction to get spread out a bit and, given the damage a conquest does, would reduce the ability to take a single planet in system and spam out troop bases and then troop ships in situ, plus reinforce the next wave assault from a planet oyu only just captured.
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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#37 Post by wheals » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:46 pm

MatGB wrote:An idea:

One of the balance problems that gets mentioned sometimes is the mid to late game abiltiy to spam fleets very quickly, and all at the front line/recently captured planets.

How about tying infrastructure in to the ability to import/export production? You'd need to change the numbers, but if a planet can't export more production than it has infrastructure, nor import more, then it would force fleet construction to get spread out a bit and, given the damage a conquest does, would reduce the ability to take a single planet in system and spam out troop bases and then troop ships in situ, plus reinforce the next wave assault from a planet oyu only just captured.
I feel like keeping track of exactly how much was being imported as opposed to produced natively would be rather annoying, so why not just make it a hard limit, irrespective of source of production? A planet could still make lots of industry even with low infrastructure, but it couldn't make lots of ships immediately.

This might be interesting in that you'd have to decide whether to bomb a planet's infrastructure (once bombardment is implemented), so that their shields go down faster and they can't build ships, or whether to leave their infrastructure as-is so you can start building immediately. That way you wouldn't have to have the annoying "you can't use this for 5 turns after conquering it" rebellion that always struck me as annoying in Civ games.
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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#38 Post by ogre » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:56 am

on the topic of bombing but not on the current definition of 'infrastructure'.

it's pretty easy to bomb a test when you're upstairs neighbors are partying all night.
could you make blockades/bombing raids lower research/industry over time prior to the planet being taken?
instead of just zero'ing all imported PP's and letting the researchers carry on.
i'd get pretty spooked with a ufo over my house, and if you're spending time bombing i don't see why industrial targets wouldn't be included in that list as shields shouldn't be the only thing recharging after a planetary raid.

something along these lines would exemplify strong well organized tactics.
thanks for a great game. :)

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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#39 Post by BraveSirKevin » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:21 pm

Landing up reading through this entire thread in detail because I've always been very confused about what infrastructure is supposed to be, because it did make sense to me when it was still called Construction but doesn't seem to have much noticable effect apart from getting penalised when buildings exist.

I've got some thoughts on the issue of both the building limits and the infrastructure meter.

On building limits:
The main argument for having these seems to be to force people to arbitrarily spread their production output over several places instead of lumping it all into one well-positioned location. There are already some buildings that force that in a non-arbitrary way by having certain requirements that not every system can meet (for example, one can only produce asteroid hull ships where there are asteroids). A more logical and intuitive way to force people to spread their production around would be to have upgrades physically replace an original building which would prevent them from building the other upgrade options on the original building. So an orbital drydock would physically replace the basic shipyard, and a geo-integration facility would replace the orbital drydock, so a system with a geo-integration facility could not also have an orbital incubator and ships with organic hulls would have to be produced elsewhere. For buildings that apply cumulative buffs, some could be labelled as undesirable, requiring them to be built outside of the capital, while others could be a kind of luxury that would only be present in well developed colonies with an ideal environment.

As a final point, in the future there will be some sort of measure of happiness in the game, and that adds a lot of interesting ways to make the lumping of buildings less than desirable without bringing infrastructure into it at all.

On infrastructure:
There are two main points brought up here frequently:
• Infrastructure acts as a replacement for the copious small buff buildings that would regularly show up in other 4X games.
• Infrastructure is a measure of the advancement of a particular colony.

These are both important and very valid points. There's a world of difference between a country like India and a country like Japan despite the fact that they are both very densely populated, and that difference literally is the infrastructure. It's the establishment and maintenance of efficient public transport; an availability of suitable, comfortable housing; readily available medical care; well managed sanitation and utilities etc. I think this is an important enough metric that it should be measurable and affectable in the game. A slightly different approach to it might be what needs to happen to make it more elegant.

The effect should be pretty much what it is now. It would affect the other meters and the growth of them. The presentation might change though. If the infrastructure is in really terrible shape because the colony is young and far removed from the capital then it's a "Developing Economy" which will eventually find its feet and become a "Stable Economy". If it's under constant attack and bombardment then it's a "Warzone", which will go into recovery when the attacks cease eventually becoming a Stable Economy as above. Certain long standing colonies will eventually build themselves up and become "Thriving Economies" and perhaps they may even go further. Getting back to the building limits, some could require that they are built in a stable or thriving economy, and they would cease to function if the colony ceased to be one.

As for techs, they wouldn't necessarily boost up infrastructure like they do now. They would simply make the transition from a developing economy or a recovering warzone to a thriving economy smoother and quicker.

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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#40 Post by MatGB » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:28 am

I'm going to post my Scanning Facility patch to its own thread soon (probably today, pretty sure it'w working as intended now), and that replaces the blanket buff per building to a global buff to each colony based on infrastructure, to me it works really well and gives a very visual trigger to a planet being bombarded, plus as infrastructure on a new colony improves the scanning circle increases, slowly revealing new locations in a way I find pleasing (fairly sure some will hate it but them's the breaks).

That makes me think that we should either scrap infrastructure completely or use it a lot more for bonuses and similar, perhaps replacing several current population based boosts with infrastructure based boosts-the bonus from Industrial Centre and others springs immediately to mind.

That way a) it truly does do what it's meant to represent (your India/Japan comparison is a good one) and b) bombing runs into enemy territory without troop ships becomes a much more viable 'slow them down' tactic, amongst other things.

My preference is for the latter, but it's apparent we need to either use it a lot more within game or dump it completely.
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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#41 Post by BraveSirKevin » Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:34 pm

I think shifting the global buffs to be dependent on infrastructure is a perfect way of handling it! It means that an established planet is more effective than a newly colonised one or a wartorn one, regardless of population. It also means there's as much benefit in nurturing an existing planet as there is in popping out a new colony just to get the extra population. I'm all for this change!

As for all the buildings that give empire-wide bonuses, would it not make more sense to rename them "Department of <noun> HQ"? This more accurately indicates that they affect a particular metric over the entire empire and hints that only one of them should be built without the player having to read the fluff in detail to work it out.

Industrial Centre ==> Department of Industry HQ
Scanning Facility ==> Department of Surveillance HQ
etc.

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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#42 Post by MatGB » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:19 pm

Heh, I'm British.

Ministry of Information HQ, etc ;-) (we don't do surveillance, we do, um, information gathering...)

OK, For industrial bonuses, you want several (most?) to still be population based but some, including some significant ones, to be infrastructure based, the Centre/Ministry, obvs, but also the various Generators? To make use of imported power you need to have the infrastructure necessary?
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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#43 Post by BraveSirKevin » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:01 pm

MatGB wrote:Ministry of Information HQ, etc ;-) (we don't do surveillance, we do, um, information gathering...)
Haha!

Note for the future: If governments get added at some point then it might makes sense to have dynamic names that reflect the government structure.
MatGB wrote: OK, For industrial bonuses, you want several (most?) to still be population based but some, including some significant ones, to be infrastructure based, the Centre/Ministry, obvs, but also the various Generators? To make use of imported power you need to have the infrastructure necessary?
Can't speak for everyone, but it makes sense to me that a lot (but certainly not all) bonuses should be influenced by both to varying degrees, and that infrastructure and population should always be separate and independent entities each with their own significant importance. It should be possible to have a world that's got sparse infrastructure but a high population (poor education frequently leads to an excessively high birth rate) and equally possible to have the opposite (a well developed nation getting ravaged by a disease... something that actually happens in game mechanics).

Industry should rely more on infrastructure due to automation, but be able get by with low infrastructure and lots of man power. Things like research, which are creative pursuits, would probably be better tied primarily to the population, but aided by the infrastructure.

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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#44 Post by Sloth » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:02 pm

BraveSirKevin wrote: OK, For industrial bonuses, you want several (most?) to still be population based but some, including some significant ones, to be infrastructure based, the Centre/Ministry, obvs, but also the various Generators? To make use of imported power you need to have the infrastructure necessary?

Can't speak for everyone, but it makes sense to me that a lot (but certainly not all) bonuses should be influenced by both to varying degrees, and that infrastructure and population should always be separate and independent entities each with their own significant importance. It should be possible to have a world that's got sparse infrastructure but a high population (poor education frequently leads to an excessively high birth rate) and equally possible to have the opposite (a well developed nation getting ravaged by a disease... something that actually happens in game mechanics).

Industry should rely more on infrastructure due to automation, but be able get by with low infrastructure and lots of man power. Things like research, which are creative pursuits, would probably be better tied primarily to the population, but aided by the infrastructure.
We had a system like this for a while (must have still been there less than a year ago). If i remember correctly, the boni were calculated with population or infrastructure whichever gave the larger result.

The description of the effects of buildings and techs were wordy and hard to compare/evaluate.
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Re: What to do about Infrastructure?

#45 Post by BraveSirKevin » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:11 pm

Sloth wrote:The description of the effects of buildings and techs were wordy and hard to compare/evaluate.
I can imagine that being quite a problem. I was thinking more along the lines of:
<industry building x> gives each planet a bonus to industry of 0.2 per infrastructure point and 0.1 per population.
In the above example, a well populated planet with high infrastructure would be churning out lots of industry (as you'd expect) and a well-established but small planet, or a large but young planet, would be producing well, but at a lower level. The numbers don't matter too much, and could be lowered if the net gain was far too high.

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