What to do with the stockpiling techs

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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#46 Post by Ophiuchus » Fri May 25, 2018 1:39 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:The objects list can be used to find planets with particular specials or buildings, and if necessary an indicator on the map could be added.
Situation is as good or bad as it is for the growth focus. If we think that switching to stockpile focus is not happening often the object list will be probably enough.
Geoff the Medio wrote:There is an imperial stockpile indicator, and it can be made to list what planets are contributing to the max/target stockpile level.
I am note sure what that means. But if the necessary information can be made visible to the player its ok for me. Just somebody would need to implement that.
If the size of this bonus is dependent on the turns since focus change, then players would want to pre-switch focus before an unrelated increase in stockpile meters in order to speed up that growth as well.
That would be micromanagy as well.. Switching away should probably remove the bonus. Dont think thats scriptable, is it (finding out the value an effect had the turn before).
If we could find out that the previous focus was stockpile, we could decrease stockpile meter by the maximum effect.

Or we always decrease the stockpile by halving the meter until the meter reaches the target. That would be a bit worse than only applying to the focus effect, but not much and it would remove the micromanagement incentive.

Also currently there is not really a source for a meaningful unrelated increase - 10% of production from the entanglement center will be a few PP. Linear +1 growth is for seven turns better than the exponential focus growth for a few PP. And the cost is high.
counter the focus-dance: by messing with the local stockpile meter growth - locally wait for five turns for the effect to kick in, then give maximal bonus +0,+0,+0,+0,+0,+max,+max,+max
I assume this means make the bonus to the max/target meter take 5 turns to start, then immediately by full-strength. Meter growth would still be +1 / turn towards the planet's local max. This seems very unsatisfying for players... switching focus doesn't produce any benefit for 5 turns.
Well, after turn 5 you would have probably a really good effect making the player very satisfied. I think that would be ok if communicated "Stockpile focus only pays off after waiting five turns". I could also whip up a formula to ensure that the player is a little better off than a linear +1 increase (e.g. if the focus effect would be +4, with linear growth it would take 4 turns, allowing to take out 10PP; so the focus effect should kick in turn 2 allowing to take out 12PP). After all we were aiming for commitment. And stockpile is a mechanism for distributing PP in space and time so waiting some turns seems not too off. Just dont know how to handle switching away from stockpiling focus. Set the meter to zero? Add/remove a special marking that the focus was set?
Last edited by Ophiuchus on Fri May 25, 2018 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#47 Post by Vezzra » Fri May 25, 2018 1:49 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Oberlus wrote:To me, it seems odd to couple growth and stockpiling:
I have a similar reaction... "Huh? What? That makes no sense..." What does stockpiling have to do with growth, and why shouldn't the player have to chose between them? I've skipped (edit: "skimmed" /edit) previous post in this thread looking for a clear statement of the idea, but couldn't fine one. A bunch of posts about focus-changing penalties that seemed unrelated. Some posts seemingly about growth of other meters, rather than growth focus itself...
Ok, so I'm not the only one confused about this growth focus gives stockpile bonus thing. I've already been wondering how and when that happened, but as I haven't been following the IS discussions closely all the time in the last few months, I thought it has just been me missing some important parts.

I still have the problem of not having time to do serious playtesting (or any playtesting at all, to be precise), so my input remains based purely on theory, but I think at this point I want to comment nevertheless: I too think that the growth and stockpile foci should remain completely separate mechanics, so no stockpile bonus for growth focus.

While both might abstract the concept of distributing certain resources, as game mechanics they are two very distinct things: one deals with increasing population, the other with distribution of a basic resource (PP). Mixing or even merging these focus settings isn't a good idea, something that gives a boost in one area shouldn't also give a boost in another, completely unrelated area, makes things harder to balance and removes possibilities for more varied strategies (IMO).

I'm also not very partial to the idea of restricting the stockpile focus to certain colonies (like homeworlds) - I think the idea that the commitment to a distributed/stockpiling empire strategy has to be done by having to switch a significant part of your colonies to the stockpile focus is a fundamental concept of the IS mechanic. For obvious reasons I can't tell if the "focus dance" Ophiuchus has mentioned repeatedly is really a problem (I think I've read a post where someone - Oberlus? - said it hasn't been an issue in their test games) , but if it is, I like Geoffs idea (of having one global empire meter which grows to its target/max value, and the local planetary meters contributing to that target/max value) best.

So, bottom line, I strongly support Geoffs ideas/suggestions/reasoning so far. I feel pretty much the same way.

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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#48 Post by Ophiuchus » Fri May 25, 2018 3:11 pm

Vezzra wrote:I think the idea that the commitment to a distributed/stockpiling empire strategy has to be done by having to switch a significant part of your colonies to the stockpile focus is a fundamental concept of the IS mechanic.
I politely disagree
Vezzra wrote:I like Geoffs idea (of having one global empire meter which grows to its target/max value, and the local planetary meters contributing to that target/max value) best.
I would just like to have some kind of solution in the 0.4.8 release. Not sure who could/would implement this.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#49 Post by Oberlus » Fri May 25, 2018 3:55 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Vezzra wrote:I think the idea that the commitment to a distributed/stockpiling empire strategy has to be done by having to switch a significant part of your colonies to the stockpile focus is a fundamental concept of the IS mechanic.
I politely disagree
But Vezzra is right. I had forgot it too until now, but from the beginning, Geoff stated that a non-stockpiling species should have to devote a great commitment in order to get useful stockpiling capabilites (and that commitment can't be anything but many stockpiling focused planets, the commitment comes from the loss in RPs/PPs from not using the other foci).
Ophiuchus wrote:I would just like to have some kind of solution in the 0.4.8 release. Not sure who could/would implement this.
Don't lose the hope, we are close. Plus, as I said before, IMO IS can go to release as it is now and be revamped later. I think everyones now agree current IS works, allows new playstyles, does not break anything, and the only/biggest problem is just that some of its related techs/mechanics are underused/underpowered (balance stuff!).

Vezzra wrote:[...] the growth and stockpile foci should remain completely separate mechanics, so no stockpile bonus for growth focus.

[...] Mixing or even merging these focus settings [...] makes things harder to balance and removes possibilities for more varied strategies (IMO).

[...] I like Geoffs idea (of having one global empire meter which grows to its target/max value, and the local planetary meters contributing to that target/max value) best.
Agree.
Geoffs idea should require few and simple changes to the focs files and completely remove the focus-dance issue, allowing the IMO KISSer way of letting every colony to set the stockpiling focus.
Only foreseeable micromagement is, when you need to increase stockpile output, you have to check on the objects window which planets are producing less PPs or RPs as best candidates to set to stockpiling, and viceversa when needing to increase RP or PP at the expense of Stockpile, you'll look for the bigger stockpiling colonies; it's similar to what you have to do when setting research or production focus and you have to discriminate by species, in-system GGs, etc.).

However, with that change the empire-wide MaxStockpile meter should have a different change mechanic, because +1 per turn would we awful.
I think this has not been settled yet, but I apologise if I have missed a post where it was discussed and solved.

I think this empire-wide stockpile meter should/could mimic the behaviour of the PP/turn and RP/turn meters, that grow faster when you have more planets. I assume everybody is at least content with that mechanic for Research and Production, so I guess everybody would be at least content with such behaviour in this EmpireMaxStockpile meter.
For Research/Production meters, the change rate is actually

Code: Select all

Sigma[colony] min(1,abs(colony.max-colony.value)) (*)
In words, for the trivial case in which you have N colonies, all with research meter value < max+1, empire (aggregated) meter gets +N after one turn.
To mimic this behaviour in a empire MaxStockpile meter I guess the change rate could be something simple like this:

Code: Select all

min(N_EMPIRE_COLONIES/2, abs(MaxStockpile-value)) (*)
Assume you have 10 planets, current stockpile value of 12 and max stockpile of 20 (because you have switched many planets to stockpile focus last turn). Next turn you'd get value 17, next one 20, and that's it. Switching more or less planets to stockpiling focus does not alter the change rate, so no incentive to switch more than necessary if you just wanted to reach 20 stockpile limit.
If then you remove the stockpiling focus from half the colonies, you immediately reduce the MaxStockpile value so you get also a decrease of stockpiling value, so again no incentive to focus-dance (another story is when you deplete your stockpile and need no more high stockpile output).

(*) for simplicity here, I skipped the part of the formula to make it work for increases and decreases. But note that that part of the formula only makes it go up or down, but always with a max of 1/-1 per planet. However there is that mechanic elsewhere to punish foci switching by making decreases larger than increases. I haven't checked how or where is that focus change malus performed, but I had understood that a colony meter has max. increase 1 and max. decrease -3, until that tech that makes it 3 and -5.
Ignoring the part of that tech, to mimic this decrease=3*increase mechanic for the empire wide stockpile meter, if max increase (when MaxStockpile>value) would be min(0.5*N_EMPIRE_COLONIES, MaxStockpile-value), then max decrease (when MaxStockpile<value) should be max(-1.5*N_EMPIRE_COLONIES, MaxStockpile-value).

Next foreseeable problem with this approach of the stockpile meter change dependent on number of colonies is that it probably implies too much of an advantage for wide versus tall empires. An empire with twice the planets can use its stockpile twice as fast, requiring less commitment (it can keep stockpiling focus half the time, so have more outcome from research/production foci).
Maybe number of colonies is too simplistic. Population based then? My first impression is it can be harder to balance, but first try: I need to envision what is it like a half-wide, half-tall average empire at mid game, specifically the expected number of colonies and total population. Just guessing, if we take ¿15? as the expected average population per colony and 10 planets, that means expected population 225 (same as 15 colonies of pop 10). So a population of 200 or so should be able to get the same increase than a 10 (+5/-15 per turn) or 15 (+7.5/-22.5) colonies empire with the proposed change rate formula. Therefore, pop-based change rate when MaxStockpile>value could be:

Code: Select all

min(0.025 * EMPIRE_POPULATION, MaxStockpile-value)
And when MaxStockpile<value:

Code: Select all

max(-0.075 * EMPIRE_POPULATION, MaxStockpile-value))
These should end up like the following (unsure how) if that tech should affect the stockpiling meter:
For MaxStockpile>value and that tech on:

Code: Select all

min(0.075 * EMPIRE_POPULATION, MaxStockpile-value)
For MaxStockpile<value and that tech on:

Code: Select all

max(-0.125 * EMPIRE_POPULATION, MaxStockpile-value))
Edit:
That tech is Force Energy Structures. It has a different focs code to do the same effect for the increase/decrease based on LocalCandidate.MaxStockpile>LocalCandidate.Stockpile, referring to min(Value+2,stuff) when increasing and max(Value-4,stuff) when decreasing. This should be changed to account for the empire-wide meter instead of each colony's meter. I lack FOCS knowledge.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#50 Post by Ophiuchus » Fri May 25, 2018 5:16 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Ophiuchus wrote:
Vezzra wrote:I think the idea that the commitment to a distributed/stockpiling empire strategy has to be done by having to switch a significant part of your colonies to the stockpile focus is a fundamental concept of the IS mechanic.
I politely disagree
But Vezzra is right. I had forgot it too until now, but from the beginning, Geoff stated that a non-stockpiling species should have to devote a great commitment in order to get useful stockpiling capabilites (and that commitment can't be anything but many stockpiling focused planets, the commitment comes from the loss in RPs/PPs from not using the other foci).
Well, i did not forget. And I am just to opposed to vezzras framing that the commitment means "significant part of your colonies". I think that there is a balancing question behind it and that "significant commitment" is the not necesarily the same as a "significant part of your colonies". And i think actually the multiplayer community is only able to answer that balancing question (because the AI probably wont be able to "misuse" the stockpile)
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#51 Post by Oberlus » Fri May 25, 2018 5:23 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:Well, i did not forget. And I am just to opposed to vezzras framing that the commitment means "significant part of your colonies". I think that there is a balancing question behind it and that "significant commitment" is the not necesarily the same as a "significant part of your colonies". And i think actually the multiplayer community is only able to answer that balancing question (because the AI probably wont be able to "misuse" the stockpile)
If you only have to switch your capital/homeworld focus to get the maximum stockpiling output, the commitment is the loss of PPs/RPs from such capital/homeworld. In early game that commitment is huge, since your capital is worth several other colonies, but mid to late game it is not. So you could have 30 planets focused on production, one planet focused on stockpiling, and get the maximum stockpile output to do evil stuff behind enemy lines. I say that is very little commitment. What I'm I thinking wrong here?
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#52 Post by Ophiuchus » Fri May 25, 2018 7:52 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Ophiuchus wrote:Well, i did not forget. And I am just to opposed to vezzras framing that the commitment means "significant part of your colonies". I think that there is a balancing question behind it and that "significant commitment" is the not necesarily the same as a "significant part of your colonies". And i think actually the multiplayer community is only able to answer that balancing question (because the AI probably wont be able to "misuse" the stockpile)
If you only have to switch your capital/homeworld focus to get the maximum stockpiling output, the commitment is the loss of PPs/RPs from such capital/homeworld. In early game that commitment is huge, since your capital is worth several other colonies, but mid to late game it is not. So you could have 30 planets focused on production, one planet focused on stockpiling, and get the maximum stockpile output to do evil stuff behind enemy lines. I say that is very little commitment. What I'm I thinking wrong here?
Well the number of homeworlds is gonna scale with the empire and i was suggesting also to allow growth special planets (so to scale the effect you would have to set multiple planets to stockpile). You were the one suggesting capital-only giving the whole bonus, not me.

And the player feedback from multiplayer was until now: the focus has such a bad cost ratio that i wont even put a single planet to that.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#53 Post by Oberlus » Fri May 25, 2018 8:13 pm

I think my reasoning applies to both cases, all homeworlds and capital only. My comment sais it explicitly: "homeworlds/capital".
An example with homeworlds:
30 colonies, 5 of them homeworlds. Switching all them to focus implies losing the production of 5 large planets, you still hava other 25. Still little commitment. Do you agree?
Ophiuchus wrote:And the player feedback from multiplayer was until now: the focus has such a bad cost ratio that i wont even put a single planet to that
Yes, that is my same feedback.
This bad cost ratio and the thing about commitment (allowing one/some/many colonies to set stockpile focus) are related but independent issues.

The bad cost ratio will be solved with balancing of the numbers for either option of foci availability. So lets do it for the allow-all-colonies foci scenario, and I bet it will make it easier to solve the I'd-never-use-stockpiling-focus problem. I've been telling it many times, so you sure remember: I could use stockpiling focus with current mechanics if it was allowed in the smaller, less productive planets, with little to none foci-dance (only when I need it no more or the planet has become more productive). Nevertheless, the foci-dance issue has an independent solution, the suggestion by Geoff developed in my second to last comment.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#54 Post by Ophiuchus » Fri May 25, 2018 8:40 pm

Oberlus wrote:I think my reasoning applies to both cases, all homeworlds and capital only. My comment sais it explicitly: "homeworlds/capital".
An example with homeworlds:
30 colonies, 5 of them homeworlds. Switching all them to focus implies losing the production of 5 large planets, you still hava other 25. Still little commitment. Do you agree?
No, actually I think that is a big commitment. Having 17% of your best planets dedicated to stockpile extraction (i.e. not to growth/research/industry) is quite big. But it would be interesting to know how others feel about such a commitment.
Oberlus wrote:
Ophiuchus wrote:And the player feedback from multiplayer was until now: the focus has such a bad cost ratio that i wont even put a single planet to that
Yes, that is my same feedback.
This bad cost ratio and the thing about commitment (allowing one/some/many colonies to set stockpile focus) are related but independent issues.

The bad cost ratio will be solved with balancing of the numbers for either option of foci availability. So lets do it for the allow-all-colonies foci scenario, and I bet it will make it easier to solve the I'd-never-use-stockpiling-focus problem. I've been telling it many times, so you sure remember: I could use stockpiling focus with current mechanics if it was allowed in the smaller, less productive planets, with little to none foci-dance (only when I need it no more or the planet has become more productive). Nevertheless, the foci-dance issue has an independent solution, the suggestion by Geoff developed in my second to last comment.
For me the term commitment means two things: first it means cost ratio, second it means long-term commitment

I dont think that putting a "useless" planet to stockpile as a real kind of commitment. Cost ratio seems to be ok/good for a "useless" planet. I dont currently see a mechanism which encourages long term for such a planet either (+1 linear max growth to a not very high value makes switching not especially expensive).
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#55 Post by Oberlus » Fri May 25, 2018 9:38 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:I dont think that putting a "useless" planet to stockpile as a real kind of commitment.
Certainly, neither I do. That mention was regarding the "I never use stockpile focus" issue, it is one of its case scenarios, the one for small things, like speeding up a bit your supply-less expansion with Sly or Laenfa or the building of that orbital elevator. I think that should be a legit use of the stockpile focus. However, currently, as of the feedback, what you get from that focus does not compensate for the loss it implies.
Having 17% of your best planets dedicated to stockpile extraction (i.e. not to growth/research/industry) is quite big
Yes, exactly, or at least too big for what you get from it. You can achieve small things with "big" commitment. As mentioned months ago, the stockpile increase from a homeworld set to focus is not worth the loss in PP/RP (unless you have many many planets) and it should be boosted somehow. But it also should be able to scale up, because appart from small things, we have big things to do with the IS. For example, pumping out warships (or troopers, or whatever) in a recently conquered colony behind enemy lines, or greatly speeding up your supply-less expansion. Those are the big things that should require big commitment. Something like putting 50 or 80% of your planets to stockpile.

I mean, the whole idea is that if you want to do such thing (getting big output from an stranded colony, as if it was supply-connected to half of your colonies, thanks to IS) you will have to sacrifice something else also big (like the pop-based production from industry focus on many planets).

Currently, if you want to do something big with the IS, you have to be Sly (with no commitment, but that's their thing) OR wait until late game for you to have enough population and all the IS techs, then with little commitment (only homeworld focus, and little weight of the IS techs compared to the rest of techs you've got first) you can have a considerable stockpile output.
If you try to get IS techs earlier than late game, it will go against you because IS techs are not very good for small empires, they won't allow you do anything "big" with or without commitment so you better ignore them. Even if your empire is stealth, it will still be a bad idea because you better focus on other techs.

Summing up:
- Keeping the focus restricted to homeworlds makes very hard to balance the IS to solve the underutilisation of the stockpile focus (UUIS) at the same time that it ensures that big IS outcomes should require big sacrifices/commitment.
- Allowing the stockpile focus on every planet can easily solve the UUIS for low-profile stockpile uses, and allow for easier balance of the big-stuff IS in a way that it ensures that big outcomes require big commitment at the same time that the IS remains a plausible option for certain situations and strategies.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#56 Post by Ophiuchus » Sat May 26, 2018 6:53 pm

Oberlus wrote:...
I really think you are contradicting yourself a few times here. Will try to read it again with a fresher mind...
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#57 Post by Ophiuchus » Sat May 26, 2018 8:17 pm

Regarding a cap on the growth per turn of the imperial stockpile meter:
Oberlus wrote:...in a empire MaxStockpile meter I guess the change rate could be something simple like this:

Code: Select all

min(N_EMPIRE_COLONIES/2, abs(MaxStockpile-value)) (*)
... Switching more or less planets to stockpiling focus does not alter the change rate, so no incentive to switch more than necessary if you just wanted to reach 20 stockpile limit.
If then you remove the stockpiling focus from half the colonies, you immediately reduce the MaxStockpile value so you get also a decrease of stockpiling value, so again no incentive to focus-dance (another story is when you deplete your stockpile and need no more high stockpile output).
...
Next foreseeable problem with this approach of the stockpile meter change dependent on number of colonies is that it probably implies too much of an advantage for wide versus tall empires. An empire with twice the planets can use its stockpile twice as fast, requiring less commitment (it can keep stockpiling focus half the time, so have more outcome from research/production foci).
I think i like your idea. In this way growth cannot be changed by the player and it scales linear with the empire. I also dont think its a problem to give an advantage to the wide empire at this point as there is no valid tall empire strategy now. If the idea of a tall empire gets actually playable, it may be worth to invest in a more complicated way of calculating the growth.

About balancing: If staying with a local +1 growth, actually i think to prevent focus dance it should be more like N_EMPIRE_COLONIES/5, N_EMPIRE_COLONIES/10, or N_EMPIRE_COLONIES/15 (rounding up).
Because if you do N_EMPIRE_COLONIES/2 it means focus dance up to half the number of your colonies.

With 7 planets the the long-term commitment story would read then like this: every turn the imperial stockpile limit grows by +1. If you maxed out the stockpile limit you get from population you can set one arbitrary of your planets to stockpile focus. Wait until that bonus is maxed out. Then pick another planet for stockpile focus. Repeat until you reach the limit you want to achieve.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#58 Post by Oberlus » Sun May 27, 2018 11:25 am

Ophiuchus wrote:About balancing: If staying with a local +1 growth, actually i think to prevent focus dance it should be more like N_EMPIRE_COLONIES/5, N_EMPIRE_COLONIES/10, or N_EMPIRE_COLONIES/15 (rounding up).
Because if you do N_EMPIRE_COLONIES/2 it means focus dance up to half the number of your colonies.

With 7 planets the the long-term commitment story would read then like this: every turn the imperial stockpile limit grows by +1. If you maxed out the stockpile limit you get from population you can set one arbitrary of your planets to stockpile focus. Wait until that bonus is maxed out. Then pick another planet for stockpile focus. Repeat until you reach the limit you want to achieve.
Hmm... Your are right, I haven't seen that to reach a certain stockpiling limit it is better if you set to stockpiling one colony per turn up to the desired level, because setting them all at at the start means you get the same stockpiling at the same time but keep some planets away from the preferred industry/research foci unnecessarily. I don't like that invitation to micromanage :(

Mpfff... Well, I guess it's an improvement nonetheless, still better than having to switch all your planets to stockpiling to speed up Stockpile increase and then switching back to normal production 80% of those planets. Also, if stockpile focus is allowed in every planet (and the tech bonuses balanced accordingly), it means some more micromanagement than allowing only homeworlds, although I like the extra versatility of allowing the stockpile on every planet to make the sotckpiling focus more interesting early-mid game. Well, if I came up with something better I'll let you know.

Re the #planets vs #population versions of this change, I advocate for the pop-based version: Even if it isn't a problem now for the tall-vs-wide strategies because that's broken elsewhere, making this right now would mean less work in the future.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#59 Post by Vezzra » Sun May 27, 2018 12:41 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:I am just to opposed to vezzras framing that the commitment means "significant part of your colonies".
I think that depends how you understand "significant part of your colonies". I'll try to explain what I meant by that phrase: it should be an non-negligible part of your colonies which scales with the size of your empire. That should also take into account how good species are at stockpiling: if you have good stockpilers in your empire, then the amount of colonies you need to switch to the stockpile focus certainly should be lower than if you don't have good stockpilers. An empire which has no good stockpilers should have to devote significantly (here we go again ;)) more resources (that is, colonies) to stockpiling than an empire which has them (to achieve the same effect of course).

Certain IS dependent strategies (e.g. "distributed empires") should only be achievable for empires without good stockpilers at much higher tech levels than for empires with good stockpilers.

That, IMO, is the goal. How much exactly a "significant part of your colonies" need to be to achieve this remains to be seen. I expect that it will take quite a lot of playtesting to find the right balance here.

However, what I think I can already say is that combining stockpile boni with the growth focus and/or restricting the stockpile focus to certain colonies (like capitals or homeworlds) won't work. Simply because the scaling part would become too unpredictable, and because tying different, unrelated game mechanics together is a very bad idea:

Unpredictable scaling: How many capitals, homeworlds and planets with growth specials are available on a map depends on a number of different factors: size of the map (of course) and number of empires, natives and specials frequency/density. In addition to that the strategy an empire pursues can have a significant impact e.g. on how much homeworlds it acquires throughout the game. An empire which chooses to focus on a single species "genocide" strategy will end up with a lot less homeworlds than an empire which employs a acquire as much species as you can approach.

Taking all that into account you can probably see how an empire could end up with far too few colonies it can use for stockpiling or far too many. The scaling needs to work far more reliably than that (IMO).

Tying together unrelated game mechanics: I'll give you an example why that is such a bad idea using the current implementation which apparently grants stockpile boni for the growth focus. That means the potential stockpiling capacity of an empire depends on how much growth specials are available. Now, consider this: one day we decide to reduce the probability of growth specials because we think there are usually too many of them in a game (I actually do think that and intend to propose such a reduction at some point). However, as growth specials not only affect pop levels (which is their intended original purpose for which they have been balanced) but also stockpiling capacity, you have to consider the impact on game balance for two instead of one game mechanic and all the ramifications, which makes things unnecessarily complicated.

Having read the recent comments/posts regarding the global stockpile empire meter idea and mulling it over myself I have to admit that I'm having serious doubts about it now. In addition to the potential problems already mentioned I think there is another one: while this idea prevents the exploit of temporarily switching many colonies to stockpile focus to get an immediate large increase to the extraction limit without loosing too much of resource output of the switched colonies (because you switch back after only a few turns), it opens up another one: if you want to e.g. boost your industry for a few turns you could temporarily switch your stockpiling colonies to industry. The many local industry meters will in total give you a larger PP output boost than your loss of extraction limit, which is determined by the per turn drop of one single empire meter. Which again gives you the potential to gain an advantage if your willing to do the required micromanagement.

Of course you can make the stockpile empire meter drop immediately to the new target value, but that would throw the grow/shrink rates of that meter out of balance.

Making increase and drop rates of the empire stockpile meter dependent on an empires number of colonies isn't a good idea either IMO: that is just a more complicated and less intuitive/transparent way to achieve the same that is now done by doing the increase and drop on the local (planetary) meter level. If the intention is to just slow down the amount by which an empires stockpiling capacity can grow, this can be more easily achieved by just reducing the rate at which the local stockpile meters grow/shrink. Much more in line with how all the other meters work, and therefore much better understandable for the player.

And finally I want to say I'm very wary of the various ideas about complex formulas and/or grow/shrink dynamics for the stockpile meter (be it planetary local or empire global). We had something like that years ago, when FO still had the food resource. The way that resource translated into population growth or decrease (starvation) was a convoluted process involving two planetary meters (availability of food affecting a "health" meter, which in turn affected the pop meter) and a complicated formula. While the results may have been "realistic", the entire thing had been deemed to complicated and not really provding something more interesting and fun than a much simpler mechanic and consequently been removed.

I foresee the same fate for any complicated/convoluted approach to fix the "focus dance" issue, so the time and effort spent on such an approach would be essentially wasted.

AFAICT, the problem of this "focus dance" is the possibility to gain a substantial advantage in certain situation by micromanaging a lot of focus switching between resource output foci (research or industry) and the stockpile focus. The underlying problem is that the costs for the focus switching are too low to prevent that exploit. Furthermore, as far as I have understood, how serious this issue really is is still somewhat of a theoretical consideration.

Therefore, my proposal is as follows: For 0.4.8, remove stockpile boni from the growth focus, and remove the restriction of the stockpile bonus to certain colonies. If necessary, adjust the boni the stockpile meter gives to prevent too high extraction limit levels. That change should be reasonably simple and doable for 0.4.8. This should provide us with the amount of playtesting feedback we need to determine where to go from here.

That said I admit I expect this "focus dance" exploit to turn out as an actual problem. Maybe not extrememly severe, but also not negligible. However, my suggestion for a solution is to make focus switching having a certain cost in general. Which can be achieved with the influence resource that is going to be introduced in the next release cycle: Focus switching should come with a certain influence cost, depending on what focus you switch to (this is important as switching to the influence focus needs to come without an incluence cost, otherwise you're screwed once you find yourself in a situation where you have an influence deficit...). That influence cost should only be very moderate (after all, being able to switch focus is a very fundamental game mechanic! ;)), but should effectively discourage any micromanagy mass focus switching exploits (in general, not only the one in question here).

Much easier, simpler, straightforward, transparent. Intuitive and easy to understand, IMO, and eleminating the need for complex and convoluted formulas/dymanics/mechanics.

Ophiuchus
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#60 Post by Ophiuchus » Sun May 27, 2018 1:00 pm

Vezzra wrote:...growth focus...
Just before you invest more time on that. The growth focus wasnt on the table anymore the last two suggestions.

Quite a few people were against it. One or two are neutral/were mildly in favor. The "good thing" of the growth focus is that it "does something", even when you do not take out PP from the stockpile ATM. But it makes more sense to increase the bonus you get from having stockpile focus.

snip
Ophiuchus wrote:After taking in the feedback once more a suggestion:

keep growth and stockpile distinct: remove the effects of growth focus to stockpile completely
free choice: allow all planets to set stockpile focus
homeworlds are cool: setting stockpile focus on homeworlds give a +0.04 per population of that species (or boost that species one stockpiling level bad to average, average to good, good to great, great to hmm ultimate?)
focus has benefit: on all planets stockpile focus gives some (fixed/population based bonus) and maybe doubling the species trait bonus
counter the focus-dance: by messing with the local stockpile meter growth - locally wait for five turns for the effect to kick in, then give maximal bonus +0,+0,+0,+0,+0,+max,+max,+max
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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