Influence and Happiness, V2

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Krikkitone
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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#16 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:33 pm

One key part of using a "colony cost" to limit expansion would be to have it not simply be proportional to number of colonies or total population.

Ideally, the cost of a colony would go up the more you had... so for empires of a certain size putting all worlds on influence focus would not be enough to keep the empire from going into rebellion. (the 'max theoretical limit' would increase as you got technology in increase the influence output of a world)

Lower than the max number of worlds/population limit would be the 'maximum effective output limit' (where adding one more world will require that you switch more than 1 world onto influence focus) So you could have an over extended empire that isn't producing as much but controls more territory (for strategic reasons) than a smaller one that isn't spending influence on colony maintenance.

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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#17 Post by Vezzra » Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:36 pm

Nice summary :)

Let me comment on some points:
The Silent One wrote:- can influence be gained by or spent on diplomacy/treaties?
That depends very much on how the whole diplomacy/treaties/empire-empire relationship complex will be designed, and right now things are still very vague on that front.

That said, traditionally I'd say you spend influence on "diplomatic actions", treaties etc., because normally you do those things to get something else - production/research boosts (for economic/research treaties), being able to pass through another empires systems, shared visibility/detection (millitary alliances) etc. It makes sense in my eyes that you'd have to invest another resource to gain all these benefits, rather than getting an influence bonus on top of what you already gain by the nature of the treaty.

What I can imagine are either some special kinds of "treaties" that become available once you reach a certain level of "diplomatic ties" or "diplomatic relationship", which allow you to gain an influence boost. Or to grant that influence boost simply once you become "close" enough with another empire (which could be a certain level of military alliance or whatever). This could act as a nice incentive to form allainces with other empires, but will need to be carefully balanced so the "lone wolf" strategy still remains a viable one.

However, I wouldn't make diplomacy/treaties a source of influence (instead of a sink) by default. Besides being counter-intuitive, this would give alliances too much of an advantage, the "lone wolf" strategy wouldn't be a viable choice, and I don't think that's a good idea.
- should influence be stockpiling or not?
I'd say not. With something more tangible like industrial output not being stockpiled it would seem quite odd if something less tangible and more abstract like influence was.

Currently, we don't have any stockpiling resources, and I wonder if we should give up on the concept of stockpiling altogether. Looks like the game works fine without it, so I'm not sure adding that back in will provide an sufficiently interesting mechanic. After all, it will increase micromanagement...
What can influence be spent on?
[...]
- fleet upkeep (per ship, per hull-type or per part?)?
Per part, to avoid the strong, IMO boring and unbalanced preference for big ships.
How is influence presented to the player?
That's actually a tricky subject. The problem with influence is that, contrary to production and research, it most likely is going to be used for a variety of very different things: colony (and probably ship) upkeep, diplomacy, espionage/sabotage, empire-species relationship etc. These are distinct game elements/mechanics which might be accessed/managed through different screens (the diplomacy screen for managing treaties with other empires usually is separate from the espionage/sabotage project management screen). Also, influence operates on different type of game objects/elements - star systems, planets, ships, species, empires.

Organizing that into a system of management screens that aren't overloaded (everything influence related done via the same screen) but also not too split up so it becomes too difficult to keep track of where all the influence is spent (making a separate screen for everything) is going to be a tough challenge I think...
How could "influence projects" work?
- projects "produced" similar to production and research = "being prepared"?
What would be the point/reason for having such a "preparation phase"?
- preparation only continues if complete amount/turn is available? (prevents that upkeep can't be paid if the player has too many projects)
There's a much simpler solution for that: influence upkeep costs are deducted from your influence production before anything else gets influence points allocated.
- projects become "active" after production and require an upkeep each turn they stay active?
Again, tricky question. How an influence projects work will depend very much on what kind of project it is, and as already mentioned above, there are probably going to be quite different types of influence projects. I see at least one major distinction: influence projects that, like production and research items, are finished after receiving a certain amount of points and running for a certain min time, and influence projects that run indefinitely. The latter let you allocate influence points to certain things/projects which need to keep going constantly (counter-intelligence for example, that's not a thing you can "finish").

There are most certainly other aspects that might differentiate types of influence projects even more, but that goes beyond the scope of this discussion here I think. First we need to come up with some simple basic framework, that's what we should stick to for now. ;)
Ideas for project types:
- investigate: grants vision of foreign colony including resource production, supply lines and fleets in sensor range
- sabotage: disrupts resource production and has a chance to destroy buildings each turn
- terrorize: kills population
- incite revolt: reduces happiness
- disrupt supply: reduces or completely disrupts supply
- destroy ships
- steal technology
- spy defense operation: has a chance to remove enemy spy activities
That can be basically summed up into espionage/sabotage, a game mechanic that will require a separate design discussion/process. There are certainly a lot of interesting ideas for that type of projects, but again, before we delve into that we first should get the basic influence mechanic into place.
- boost colony: increases local resource production
That boils down to simply convert one type of resource (influence) into another (production, research). Doesn't strike me as a particular interesting mechanic.
I agree with Vezzra that influence should play similar to production and research, and also not be stockpiling, but spent continually like the other resources. I would like to see it used as a colony and fleet upkeep resource, as well as the basis for "intelligence projects" as outlined above. I also agree that Influence should mainly be created by setting a planetary focus, as production and research are;
Agree with all of that :D
could also be acquired by diplomacy, maybe as an incentive for a peaceful playstyle, or spent on it - paying tribute to an enemy!?
See my comments on influence and diplomacy above.
Influence should have its own screen like production and research, with the purpose to show where influence is created and spent, and to provide an interface to interact with influence projects. There should be some indication of the projects on the sidepanel, maybe a new "influence project panel" that only is visible if there is a project at a colony.
Also see above. We probably need to define exactly what we want to implement in a first step, as a first basic framework, and then decide on the necessary UI extensions to support that.

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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#18 Post by Vezzra » Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:50 pm

Krikkitone wrote:One key part of using a "colony cost" to limit expansion would be to have it not simply be proportional to number of colonies or total population.
Yes, I agree, that is a crucial concept. The colony upkeep costs should not be linear, but exponential. However, that needs some very careful balancing. I think it's also important to tie colony upkeep to population, not to the number of colonies, otherwise big planets would get too much preference, and colonizing small planets might become pointless (many small colonies -> less resource output for the same influence costs).
Ideally, the cost of a colony would go up the more you had... so for empires of a certain size putting all worlds on influence focus would not be enough to keep the empire from going into rebellion. (the 'max theoretical limit' would increase as you got technology in increase the influence output of a world)

Lower than the max number of worlds/population limit would be the 'maximum effective output limit' (where adding one more world will require that you switch more than 1 world onto influence focus) So you could have an over extended empire that isn't producing as much but controls more territory (for strategic reasons) than a smaller one that isn't spending influence on colony maintenance.
Basically yes, that's what it boils down to. However, empires should not hit these limits too quickly/easily, otherwise the game won't scale up well for large maps. After all, it's a game of galactic conquest, and wiping everyone else off the map must stay a viable strategy. The mechanic isn't meant to put a hard cap on the max size of an empire, but to slow down exponential growth.

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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#19 Post by Morlic » Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:36 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:One key part of using a "colony cost" to limit expansion would be to have it not simply be proportional to number of colonies or total population.
Yes, I agree, that is a crucial concept. The colony upkeep costs should not be linear, but exponential. However, that needs some very careful balancing. I think it's also important to tie colony upkeep to population, not to the number of colonies, otherwise big planets would get too much preference, and colonizing small planets might become pointless (many small colonies -> less resource output for the same influence costs).
Would you prefer the most effective strategy where you get as many small planets as possible while grabbing all flat (population independent) boni (e.g. Gas Giant Generator, the established techs...)? In fact, a player could very well be motivated to keep population small (Evacuation / Conc. Camp) to reduce the influence cost. In case of Concentration Camps, that would have twice the effect considering it also increases production.
Small planets also have better supply, you get more defenses for the same population etc.

So that definitely is not a solution either. Probably some sort of combination of both pop and planet count is desirable. However, I wouldn't find it too bad to mostly base it on the number of planets owned. It is an incentive to go for and fight over large planets. If that means to skip small planets without strategic resources / position, then that would be a positive aspect for me personally.
Additionally, discount may be granted on multiple planets within the same system so small planets may still be worth it given the right circumstances. Just not that lonely small planet at the edge of the universe noone would care about if not for the fact that we can squeeze out some few RP it...
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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#20 Post by Vezzra » Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:41 pm

Morlic wrote:Would you prefer the most effective strategy where you get as many small planets as possible while grabbing all flat (population independent) boni (e.g. Gas Giant Generator, the established techs...)?
No, of course not. I prefer a balanced setup where both small and large planets have distinct advantages and disadvantages. I even think having large planets being better/preferable to a certain degree is ok. What I want to avoid is large planets becoming too much better than small ones, so that players won't bother colonizing the latter except in cases where not enough large planets are available.

Considering that large planets naturally are better and therefore preferred targets for colonization, making colony upkeep costs mainly dependend on colony count will only shift that balance even more in favor of large planets. And I don't think that this is a good idea.

Regarding the flat boni you refer to, I don't expect them to be an important factor here. Flat boni are the rare exception, by far the most resource output boni are population based.
In fact, a player could very well be motivated to keep population small (Evacuation / Conc. Camp) to reduce the influence cost.
If flat boni weren't that rare, that might become an issue, but as things are now, I can't follow that conclusion. Population is the by far most important base stat for resource output, so reducing your pop means reducing your resource output. After all, there is a reason why the pop boni, especially the species pick ones, are considered very powerful.

Which, by the way, is another reason to make influence upkeep costs pop dependend. Otherwise having as much pop as possible on few planets becomes more desirable, giving even more importance to pop boni granting techs, species picks, buildings, specials.

Tying colony upkeep to pop would leave the current balance more or less untouched, because the influence costs per pop and by that the influence costs per resource output would be independent of the planet size of a colony. However, if you tie colony upkeep to colony count, that balance shifts dramatically, as pop on a large planet will be much, much cheaper than on a small planet - a huge planet usually has five times the pop of a tiny planet, meaning, its pop has a only a fifth of the influence costs!! That is an enormous difference. Even if you only compare the less rare small and large planets, the pop costs for the latter will be only half of that of the former.

Basically you create a dynamic similar to what we have now with fleet upkeep: the tiniest ship has exactly the same maintenance costs as the most massive behemoth, which favors big ships so much that bothering with small ships (except for special purposes like scouts) is pointless. Something we currently consider changing by making fleet upkeep depend on slot or ship part count (which would be roughly the equivalent of tying colony upkeep to pop).

Considering all that, having colony upkeep tied to colony count will render small planets very unfavorable, maybe even to the point where players will try to avoid colonizing/acquiring small planets wherever possible, and only bother with them if they have something special to offer (a species you don't have in your empire, some valuable special, etc.). Personally I don't like that idea.
In case of Concentration Camps, that would have twice the effect considering it also increases production.
CCs are problematic even now, I consider the current implementation a stop-gap solution. It will become even more problematic with pop based influence costs, that's right, so we need to do something about them. My idea has been to switch the CC building to an influence project anyway (makes much more sense to me that way). With having to pay influence for them, I think it shouldn't be too hard to balance them nicely.

By the way, Evacuation would be another thing I'd like to switch to an influence project.
Small planets also have better supply
A concept we introduced because, as things were before, small planets already have been so unfavorable for colonization that we thought we need to do something about it. To be honest, I actually never liked that solution, because to me it feels like something "bolted on", a bit ackward and not very intuitive. The fluff explanation that small planets have lower gravity and therefore ships can easier launch from them doesn't really make much sense in the context of galaxy-spawning interstellar empires either. So that's something I'd like to replace with something better anyway.
you get more defenses for the same population
There are ideas to tie planetary stats like defences, shields, detection to infrastructure, which I think might be a good idea. That would still result in the effect you describe, because currently infra isn't dependend on planet size. However, I'd like to reconsider that - after all, a large planet should be able to sustain more infrastructure than a small one. Then a large planet would have better defences than a small one (which is intuitive and make sense IMO).

IMO that's a better way to give large planets more importance than small ones, because this dynamic doesn't shift the balance as dramatically.
Probably some sort of combination of both pop and planet count is desirable.
I've thought along those lines too, but I wonder if that wouldn't just make the formula more complicated without really providing a more interesting mechanic/dynamic.
However, I wouldn't find it too bad to mostly base it on the number of planets owned. It is an incentive to go for and fight over large planets.
I think this incentive is already there, without making large planets so much more advantageous. After all, a large planet already counts more or less as two (or even more) small planets, making it twice as valuable.
If that means to skip small planets without strategic resources / position, then that would be a positive aspect for me personally.
Well, our preferences are obviously different regarding this matter. ;) I think if small planets are rendered valuable only if they offer something of strategic importance (be it it's location or some strategic resource), that will devaluate them far too much. As I pointed out above, we already had the problem that small planets have been to undesirable and felt that we need to do something about it, so it seems counter-productive to introduce a mechanic that will worsen the problem dramatically.

IMO your approach will only make sense if we make the larger planet sizes much more rare, so that you can't skip out on the small ones (because they make up the vast majority of available planets), but the occasional large planet will become a highly desired commodity. That could probably work. But with the current distribution of planet sizes tying colony upkeep to colony count will result in small planets becoming more or less useless.
Additionally, discount may be granted on multiple planets within the same system so small planets may still be worth it given the right circumstances.
Hm, that idea sounds worth considering in any case, it would make systems with more planets more valuable... but it will also make the formula more complex. Maybe something we can add in after we got a basic implementetion working?
Just not that lonely small planet at the edge of the universe noone would care about if not for the fact that we can squeeze out some few RP it...
I don't think that will happen even with pop based colony upkeep. Don't forget, one of the suggested factors for colony upkeep is distance to the capital.

Which actually makes me think that we can achieve a non-linear colony upkeep dynamic just by balancing that factor (distance to capital) accordingly. The farther away a colony is from the capital, the more expensive it becomes to maintain, that should put an sufficiently effective damper on excessive expansion.

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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#21 Post by Morlic » Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:42 pm

Vezzra wrote:Regarding the flat boni you refer to, I don't expect them to be an important factor here. Flat boni are the rare exception, by far the most resource output boni are population based.
I expect them to be an absolutely important factor. Adaptive Automation with +5 production per planet can easily triple resource output of an early game empire simply because planets are not fully developed yet: You have many low pop planets. I am happy with colonizing those poor planets with 1 pop. Why? Because I get 5PP/2PP anyway. Or maybe even 10/15 PP with Asteroids/GGG in the system.

How much PP/pop do I have in early game? .2 base, .1 robotic production, .2 fusion generation, .2 industry center. That is something like .7/pop. So a planet with 1 pop produces 15 pp - equivalent to ~21.4 population.
Mind you, that is a poor environment 1 pop planet with some bad industry species... That is really far off from not being an important factor.

Yes, population boni become more relevant as the game goes on. You get more population based boni, more population boni and your population generally grows on all planets... No need to argue about that, this is obvious. Also obvious is that in the late game, these pop based boni will largely outweigh the flat boni. However, flat boni for a large time of the game are extremely important (in the current state) and can very much be the base of the economy.

In most of my games I tend to "rush" to unlock poor planets, spam many low-pop planets, research Adaptive Automation and Exobots, boom some more and research nothing else but military techs at that point and begin to end the game. With my economy being mostly based on 1pop-planets.
So, if we mostly base the influence costs on the population count, my strategy remains mostly unaffected. I might have to research Bombarding weapons or evacuate the enemy planets to not get into influence trouble once I start the conquest but that is about it. I still have a booming economy based on 1-pop-planets.

Of course, all of this does not have to be a problem as there are solutions available. The flat boni may very well be reworked or removed from the game. For example, Gas Giant Generators may give something like 1/pop up to a maximum of 10.

By the way, considering that outposts should probably cost some influence, I really think the influence cost per planet might even be necessary (regardless of additional pop modifier or not).

In fact, a player could very well be motivated to keep population small (Evacuation / Conc. Camp) to reduce the influence cost.
If flat boni weren't that rare, that might become an issue, but as things are now, I can't follow that conclusion. Population is the by far most important base stat for resource output, so reducing your pop means reducing your resource output. After all, there is a reason why the pop boni, especially the species pick ones, are considered very powerful.
The problem is that you are not really reducing your resource output: Your overall population is still the same. Just split over multiple planets which are either a poor environment or simply not population-capped. While this means you need to invest more PP into colony founding, you can easily "spike" your resource output once you have more influence by unlocking the next growth tech or by stopping the evacuation-toggling. If you have few large planets, then you need to found the colonies first, which I assume to be slower and less flexible in most cases.

It basically is an investment for later growth and abusing the fact that the flat boni will eventually pay off the price for founding the colony (or in another perspective: The earlier you found the colony, the cheaper it is) and that population based resource output is actually linear (and thus 20x1 pop is as efficient as 1x20 pop).

Is the train of thought clearer to you now?
Tying colony upkeep to pop would leave the current balance more or less untouched, because the influence costs per pop and by that the influence costs per resource output would be independent of the planet size of a colony. However, if you tie colony upkeep to colony count, that balance shifts dramatically, as pop on a large planet will be much, much cheaper than on a small planet - a huge planet usually has five times the pop of a tiny planet, meaning, its pop has a only a fifth of the influence costs!! That is an enormous difference. Even if you only compare the less rare small and large planets, the pop costs for the latter will be only half of that of the former.

Basically you create a dynamic similar to what we have now with fleet upkeep: the tiniest ship has exactly the same maintenance costs as the most massive behemoth, which favors big ships so much that bothering with small ships (except for special purposes like scouts) is pointless. Something we currently consider changing by making fleet upkeep depend on slot or ship part count (which would be roughly the equivalent of tying colony upkeep to pop).

Considering all that, having colony upkeep tied to colony count will render small planets very unfavorable, maybe even to the point where players will try to avoid colonizing/acquiring small planets wherever possible, and only bother with them if they have something special to offer (a species you don't have in your empire, some valuable special, etc.). Personally I don't like that idea.
I already brought up the possibility of combining both approaches. We might very well set the influence cost per planet to an equivalent of 3 population. Thus later in the game, the impact is small. However, in the early game, you really need to think about whether it makes sense to capture that planet or if it is better to wait.
Personally, I think the concept of really small and bad planets being favorable or at least equally favorable to large planets is weird and not very beneficial to the overall game as it pretty much forces you to get any planet you can get regardless of its characteristics. As long as you are not population-capped influence-wise, you always want to grab any planet. That seems somewhat boring to me.
Maybe I am overseeing something but in your approach I really would not care about what your planets look like. Just that you can colonize them. That is not much different from before except for the fact that you now are limited in your overall population. Which has zero impact on the kind of planets you choose.

So overall the only real difference of varying planet sizes would be the amount of PP I have to invest to get the colonies up. 2 Small planets otherwisely are equal to a large one (neglecting the fact that they are currently better because of flat boni and defenses). Not sure if that is very interesting but it definitely is a simple concept.
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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#22 Post by Cpeosphoros » Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:59 am

Hi.

I've been lurking the forums and playing the game for quite a time, but this is my very first post, so, please excuse me if I make any blunders.

I very much like the idea of somehow limiting/slowing down exponential growth, withou introducing conecpts like money, tax rates, etc...

I like the concept of colonies/population or some combination thereof costing some resource to maintain, but I think introducing one more queue (i.e. influence projects) to the game goes contrary to some principles stated in the game philosophy document, specially in the point of micromanagement. With the two current queues, plus fleet moving, etc., I already spend most of my game time micromanaging those aspects, to min/max techs/ships/buildings output.

I may be mistaken, of course, but I think simply keeping those things as production costing building projects - may be as something that may only be built in your capital and only one at a time, maybe only buildable if you have crossed some influence threshold, would be simpler, cleaner and cheaper than adding a whole new screen, queue, etc.

One idea that kept coming to my mind while I read this thread is that maybe - and this would introduce a new concept to the game - influence should not be based either on planets or population, but on systems. That could, if well designed, make the small/large planet discussion moot, or at least better balanced, as the strategic choice for this resource would be between types and quantity of systems, not of planets as it is now for industry and research. Specifically, that could work by not factoring the influence cost for a system on some scale of population, number or size of planets, but instead on distance to capitol, type of star, distance to homeworld of the species therein, multi-culturality (number of different species in a system giving you some bonus), their allegiance to your empire, etc.

Well, those are my very first two cents into the game... Thanks you all for the great effort put into it until this pont. It's already, as is, a very good game.

PS: BTW, what's this fleet upkeep stuff people keep talking about? I've never noticed it while playing.
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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#23 Post by AndrewW » Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:33 pm

Cpeosphoros wrote:PS: BTW, what's this fleet upkeep stuff people keep talking about? I've never noticed it while playing.
New ships get more expensive the more you already have.

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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#24 Post by Krikkitone » Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:55 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:One key part of using a "colony cost" to limit expansion would be to have it not simply be proportional to number of colonies or total population.
Yes, I agree, that is a crucial concept. The colony upkeep costs should not be linear, but exponential. However, that needs some very careful balancing. I think it's also important to tie colony upkeep to population, not to the number of colonies, otherwise big planets would get too much preference, and colonizing small planets might become pointless (many small colonies -> less resource output for the same influence costs).
Ideally, the cost of a colony would go up the more you had... so for empires of a certain size putting all worlds on influence focus would not be enough to keep the empire from going into rebellion. (the 'max theoretical limit' would increase as you got technology in increase the influence output of a world)

Lower than the max number of worlds/population limit would be the 'maximum effective output limit' (where adding one more world will require that you switch more than 1 world onto influence focus) So you could have an over extended empire that isn't producing as much but controls more territory (for strategic reasons) than a smaller one that isn't spending influence on colony maintenance.
Basically yes, that's what it boils down to. However, empires should not hit these limits too quickly/easily, otherwise the game won't scale up well for large maps. After all, it's a game of galactic conquest, and wiping everyone else off the map must stay a viable strategy. The mechanic isn't meant to put a hard cap on the max size of an empire, but to slow down exponential growth.

Well large maps could have the per colony costs scale.

And the "hard cap empire size" would be 2x the "most output possible size"... and any expansion up to that point would cost you some efficiency.

Essentially by end game you should be able to have every single planet colonized with max pop, and have some of them Not set on producing influence, but still not risk rebellion.

As for the pop v. colony number, it is possible to have both.
ie
base influence cost of a world= X +Y*Pop +Z*Distance to capitol
All influence maintenance/cost of internal influence projects is multiplied by
Imperial Administration modifier=A +B*number of planets + C*total population

Adjust A, B, C, X, Y, Z as needed to balance out flat v. pop based economic bonuses (also those numbers could be adjusted by technologies as well)

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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#25 Post by The Silent One » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:12 pm

So let me sum up the discussion so far below. In green, I've marked points of discussion where we seem to have consensus; orange points are still in discussion. Tell me if I missed something / marked something green that is still debatable.

How is influence acquired?
- by the planetary focus "influence"
- not stockpiling
- there may be factors that modify the output of influence: species attributes, planetary specials, buildings, techs


What can influence be spent on?

- "colony upkeep"
- per colony, per star system, per population, or a combination of these?
- per star system: favors systems with many planets, systems with many small planets are valuable too
- per colony: favors large planets / colonies with high population
- per population: favors flat (population independent) boni, small planets
- combination pop + colony count: compromise, but complicates formula. small influence cost per planet, so that it's only a factor at the beginning?
- factor in distance to home-world, or nearest other colony?

- influence cost grows exponentially to colony number, or population size, ...

- "fleet upkeep"
- per ship, hull-type or per part?
- per ship favors large ships too much
- per part or per hull

- other ways to spend influence
- to be discussed later


How is influence presented to the player?
- influence resource displayed on the top bar and sidepanel resource panel (available influence / total influence?)
- tooltip for top bar that shows what influence is spent on (colony upkeep x influence, fleet upkeep y influence)?

- not necessarily by "influence screen", at least not at this point
- more work on this once there are more uses for influence, like diplomacy, espionage etc.

Influence projects
- discuss further after influence basics are implemented



My opinion:
I think if would prefer a "per star system" approach for "colony upkeep", offers some strategic choices:
  • position of the star system: sometimes pick a system although it doesn't have large/good planets, because it is in a strategic position, like at a choke-point to the enemy
  • makes systems with many planets, even small ones valuable; can often ignore systems with only few and tiny planets. "hunt for good systems, develop them, ignore the undesirable ones"
  • star color matters for phototropic species. "take the blue star system with two planets rather than the red star system with four planets"
I'd like to see a "distance cost" to the player's next colony:
  • take far-off systems only if they are very valuable, like because they have a ruins special, or a computronium moon, or gaia worlds
As for fleet upkeep, I would favor a hull-type approach; surely, both options would work fine, but I see some advantages for a hull-type approach:
  • per hull type keeps influence points (IP) cost simple, e. g. "Standard hull: 5 IP, Titanic Hull 100 IP" rather than "Standard hull (design 1): 4 IP, Standart hull (design 2): 7 IP, Titanic hull (design 1): 68 IP. Titanic hull (design 2): 75 IP"
  • per hull type adds a strategic dimension: "do I pick the small hull type that is less IP-expensive, or the huge flagship hull that offers core slots, but comes with an on-top of the parts IP cost?"
  • per hull type IP cost takes in hull attributes, like base speed, stealth etc.; could also used to differentiate hull lines: organic hulls IP-cheaper than robotic hulls, or something along those lines.
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The Silent One
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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#26 Post by The Silent One » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:09 pm

And I should add:

What happens if there is not enough influence available?
- happiness malus
- production and/or research malus
- ships and/or colonies going rogue
- ...?
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Krikkitone
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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#27 Post by Krikkitone » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:48 pm

The Silent One wrote:And I should add:

What happens if there is not enough influence available?
- happiness malus
- production and/or research malus
- ships and/or colonies going rogue
- ...?

Probably Happiness malus... and when happiness drops enough planets/ships rebel

also... if "IP maintenance" is a project... you can prioritize fleets over planets or vice versa (basically have 2 projects, fleets+planets)... so do you want to rain death from above on the rebels, or do you want to cut of the supplies of defecting fleets.

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Kassiopeija
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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#28 Post by Kassiopeija » Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:07 pm

These are some nice new mechanisms which should be able to add new depth to the game, but frankly, I can't help but notice that the name "influence" is grossly misleading. Perhaps you've abstracted a little bit too much.

For example, these "influence costs" of buildings or planets etc is really a machanism better described by "Upkeep" or "Maintenance" or "Energy".
Just that you don't seem to like the idea of money (because it may not exist in the future which I find quite naive to think... esp. since money is nothing but a substitute in itself... because what you can't do away with is that if Person A does something for Person B said Person A will ask for a compensation - and ultimately it's irrelevant what that compensation is, as long as it's something understandable and not "5 influence".

I also wonder if these mechanisms are able to do something contra the mentioned expansion-dilemma; ie. at a certain point you're just runaway unstoppably from the AI.

What this game needs is a stat like "Corruption" that grows exponentially with the current strength of an empire (ie. strong empires are more affected by corruption that smaller one). This Corruption could then be used to penalize the currently perceived "winner" by throttling down several aspects of the game, ie. less production, less research would be the obvious. More interesting would be if "events" could be introduced, and these could be all sorts of things, like gain/loose some ships, native planet joins/rebels, building gets destroyed, starlane added/killed, with corruption increasing the chance that negative events are triggered.

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#29 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:27 pm

Kassiopeija wrote:...what you can't do away with is that if Person A does something for Person B said Person A will ask for a compensation...
Part of the idea is that you might not be "asking" a "person" to do things.

You're convincing/manipulating/compelling a whole planet/society's population to, possibly by paying some of them whatever "money" your empire / their planet uses, or perhaps by manipulating the local media to make them think it would be the best way to support their political preferences, or perhaps holding their offspring captive, or perhaps telepathically manipulating them to do it, or perhaps manipulating their culture or their species' perception of your empire so that they feel some degree of loyalty and will naturally tend to do it spontaneously, or perhaps chemically altering the atmosphere to cause their entirely-non-human-like brain to alter its thinking patterns, etc.

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MatGB
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Re: Slowing down expansion, economics

#30 Post by MatGB » Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:45 pm

1) post scarcity economics is a fairly large sphere of speculative study
2) interstellar distances make the current comprehension of 'money' to be somewhat laughable anyway, what do you back the exchange with?
3) Many space opera backgrounds have little to no money in the conventional sense
4) Many of the existing species we have in game are clearly not money users in our sense, nor are they individuals in our sense, given we have existing species that don't use money why would their empires use money?

I am ambivalent about most of the ideas in here, some of them look like needless complications to me, but I would rather scrap the existing fleet/colony upkeep multipliers if possible so if this is a better way to do it then, well, I'll test it.
Mat Bowles

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