Themed tech categories (Help wanted)

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

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labgnome
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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#46 Post by labgnome » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:14 am

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:09 am
Adding new
- themes needs rework, some techs must be reassigned to a different theme and/or tier;
- tiers needs some rework, moving techs between tiers;
- (few) more techs needs no rework as long as there is enough space in the screen or we drop Ophichus suggested requirement of no vertical scrolling.
- many more techs would certainly need more themes or more tiers if the no vertical scroll is a requirement.

Deleting
- themes needs rework,
- tiers needs some rework,
- techs need no rework unless some theme-tier gets less than 3 apps.
If we opt for an 8 or 9 themed system, I would say that adding or removing themes should be a functionality we should try to accommodate. If we are going to go with 4 or 5 tiers then I don't think we need to worry too much about that kind of functionality. Similarly if we are going for only 5 tiers I would say that adding new tiers should be functionality we should try to accommodate, while I thin that 10 tiers of technology is enough and we probably shouldn't worry about adding any more at any point.

I will say that I am iffy on making the no vertical scrolling a hard requirement, as the current tech terr lets us zoom in and out and I would like to keep that kind of functionality and what I consider to be still intelligible might be different from what someone else considers to be intelligible. I do think it is a good guide, but with different screens and resolutions and even visual preferences I would be apprehensive about keeping it a hard rule.

I will say that a whole lot of my resistance kind of comes from a matter-of-principle place that I think that I should get to research all the techs on a tech tree. I like my theory techs. Plus I am unsure if I add in an application tech or take one out in the middle of the tech tree will I have to then change the next theory or whatever it is now? Mostly I'm finding all of this tier system very hard to grok.
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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#47 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:35 am

Oberlus wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:14 pm
Also, this: Currently FO has 196 techs (I might have missed some). With new weapons and hulls, that number will rise to near 300, and probably reach 320 with other new techs that will stem from dividing current tech tree into four themes. With four themes and five tiers, we get around 80 techs per theme (they won't require to be balanced in number of techs, one theme could have 70 and another 90) and 16 techs per tier (again, some tiers could have more than others).
Ophiuchus wrote: Grep tells me have about 160 non-theory techs and 30 theory techs ATM maybe 27 of the non-theory techs are upgrades.
So currently it is probably rather 130 than 200 techs(?)

How did you count?
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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#48 Post by Oberlus » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:44 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:35 am
How did you count?
You're right, I have counted in also the refinements (like death ray 2-4). But I also found (using grep too) ony 17 theory-only techs. I shall recheck.

Edit: I have counted 15 techs that has the "THEORY" tag and has no effects and only unlocks other techs. I also have 2 more techs not tagget as THEORY but that I have labeled as theory-only not sure why: Bombard, and Custom Advisories (the tech that enables the sitreps, IIRC).
Last edited by Oberlus on Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#49 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:20 am

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:09 am
..
All these "rework" seems easier with tiered system than with free tech tree (current system) but similar than with pure TAR system. In fact, the underlying link and requirement structure of the techs is the same (the one used now with some additions to ease up the scripting of alternative requirements).

The only rework that comes new with the tiered system is that one of the no vertical scrolling requirement, unless we also add that requirement to the TAR system (so that the number of apps unlocked by each theory is balanced).
So, unless I'm missing something, I think we can stick to the tiered system.
Agreed. Also the way you envisioned the weapon .. tech to work, the tier gives a structure for the "power-level" of a tech. So basically its easy to remove/add such a tech on a tier as you already know what to balance it against.
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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#50 Post by Oberlus » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:10 am

For the NTT with the to-be-added Crystalline theme, I've got around 40 weapon and weapon related apps (no refinements). More specifically, around 30-32 weapons and 8-10 related parts. 30+ weapons spreaded among 5 themes with 6 tiers would allow for one weapon per theme-tier (sometimes two).

I'll have around 170 other techs (construction, growth, hulls, parts...) without theories or refinements. That would make for nearly 6 other apps per theme-tier, up to a total of 7 apps per theme-tier with the weapons. I think that is good enough, allowing the addition for up to 2 extra apps per tier without requiring vertical scrolling in most screen setups. But we might want to have extra space.
If we have 7 (or more) tiers there won't be enough weapons per tier (plus we have more horizontal scrolling to do). I know that is not an strong argument against 7+ tiers, but I think the vertical scrolling is neither that relevant.

So next I could increase tiers to 6 and adjust the balance equations in a simple way: just add an extra tier, so that tier 5 weapons/armours/shields are still 5x stronger than tier 1, tier 6 are 7.5x stronger than tier 1 and tier N+1 is 1.5x stronger than tier N.
I think this is a good compromise between allowing some future ampliation of the tech tree without requiring vertical scrolling and having too many tiers (which means greater ratio of theory-only/apps and, IMO, extra design effort).

It shouldn't be much work, and I have to do some of it anyway to add the new theme Crystalline.

An alternative with similar effort requirements is upping tiers up to 9, with around 5 apps per theme-tier, and only put weapons on the odd tiers (1, 3... 9).
This one could be better to extend the life-time of research in late-game (you know, there's a point when you have everything but research victory). What do you think? I'm running out of neurons.
Edit: but it could also be worse for strategi diversity, since choosing e.g. 3 out of 5 apps per tier to unlock next one would allow for fewer meaningful choices on each tier.
So I guess I'm more in favour of the 6 tier system. Anyway, what do you think?

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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#51 Post by labgnome » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:10 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:10 am
So next I could increase tiers to 6 and adjust the balance equations in a simple way: just add an extra tier, so that tier 5 weapons/armours/shields are still 5x stronger than tier 1, tier 6 are 7.5x stronger than tier 1 and tier N+1 is 1.5x stronger than tier N.
I think this is a good compromise between allowing some future ampliation of the tech tree without requiring vertical scrolling and having too many tiers (which means greater ratio of theory-only/apps and, IMO, extra design effort).
I will say I like the 6-tiered system, it's basically what I was going for with my initial re-work proposal. It give 2 tiers each for the early, middle and late game respectively, which makes organization easier. It also means that if way say a tech should be an "early game tech" or a "late game tech" we will know about where to put it right away.
Oberlus wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:10 am
An alternative with similar effort requirements is upping tiers up to 9, with around 5 apps per theme-tier, and only put weapons on the odd tiers (1, 3... 9).
This one could be better to extend the life-time of research in late-game (you know, there's a point when you have everything but research victory). What do you think? I'm running out of neurons.
Edit: but it could also be worse for strategi diversity, since choosing e.g. 3 out of 5 apps per tier to unlock next one would allow for fewer meaningful choices on each tier.
So I guess I'm more in favour of the 6 tier system. Anyway, what do you think?
This offers a similar advantage to the 6-tiered system, but with 3 tiers per game stage rather than just 2. I also like the weapon at every other level idea.
If we go with 4 levels of armor you could also have your armor be at every even level giving a nice symmetry. However with 3 tiers it makes it a bit more relevant to know which specific tier a tech should be placed in if it is going to be added or moved but it still gives a guide for where to put something. I do agree that it could be worse for strategy diversity, as it would make your theme basically single strategy, though that might not be completely bad, especially if we flesh-out what kind of strategy/strategies we want with each theme, so long as we have a good way to inform the player about what those are. There is also more room to add more stuff in each tier should we want to, but I don't know how much more we want to add, weather or not that is really an advantage to the choice.
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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#52 Post by labgnome » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:45 pm

So here are some of my bigger thoughts on the themed tech system.

Firstly, the idea is really growing on me, especially as a way to make the game a more diverse experience for players. I like the idea of different players opting for wholly different lines of ship hulls and weapons, each working off of different strategies. It has a lot of potential to add a lot of flavor and role-playing to the game. For instance, giving various species both playable and native "favored" and/or "reviled" theme preferences that effect happiness, adding to the strategic nature of your choice.

Secondly, I want to discuss how we want to tie different game strategies to different themes. So far my thoughts are that the Biotechnology, Cybernetic and Mechanical themes could be tied to "going wide" while the Crystalline and Energy themes could be tied to "going tall". I have some futher thoughts on how this relates to colonization strategies in a new topic I posted here to hopefully discuss specifics in more depth without de-railing this thread. What I am wondering about is: how things like the stealth strategy and the technology victory will work with this new system?

One thing I could see is splitting the planetary stealth strategy into two are three directions.
  1. Planetary Stealth Specials, probably Mechanical Theme (divorced from the cloaking device ship-part line)
  2. Cloaking Field Generator building, probably Energy Theme (tied to cloaking device ship-part line)
  3. Optional: progressive passive Stealth Boosts, possibly increasing stealth for buildings, probably Biotechnology Theme (without a building or special)
This would split the stealth strategy across two or three themes. Should the other themes possibly getting better sensors to compensate?

Will you be able to get a technology victory from researching in only a single theme? I have some thoughts on the technology victory, and the whole idea of "transcendence" and some possible mechanics giving it game relevant effects. Namely, each theme will follow an "ascension path" (an idea I am borrowing from Stellaris' mechanics) that will change your empire.
  • Biotechnology Theme: Physical Perfection policy, Bio Re-engineering Facility building, Ultimate transformation (organic metabolism).
  • Crystalline Theme: Ultimate Order policy, Crystalline Monolith building, Crystal-Mind transformation (lithic metabolism)
  • Cybernetic Theme: Technological Singularity policy, Singularity Node building, Virchform transformation (robotic metabolism).
  • Energy Theme: Celestial Ascension policy, Psionic Portal building, Solaric transformation (phototrophic metabolism)
  • Mechanical Theme: Omega Point policy, Transcendence Gate building, Etherial transformation(self-sustaining metabolism).
The ascension path policy will be unlocked at the third-to-last tier, and will be necessary to be able to build the ascension path building. The ascension path building will be unlocked at the next-to-last tier and be necessary for the ascension path species transformation, which will probably be an influence project. All ascension path species have "great" stats, cannot colonize (can only expand by transformation projects), and are telepathic (so they get the psy-dom focus). Once you have converted your entire population (with some possible exception, like exobots) you will get the technology victory. This will make the technology victory more involved and costly, and not just something you are "handed" by finishing out the tech tree.

Thirdly, I am currently of two minds on this possibility:
  1. Should we have a "universal" theme for the technologies we want everyone to be able to get, maybe primarily for things like governments, policies, sensor techs, supply boosts (assuming they aren't all rolled into policies), planetary defenses, and the like?
  2. With redundancy across themes we should probably make any techs that provide boosts not stack across themes, so that say choosing two themes is a guaranteed way to raise your planetary defenses so that you cannot get invaded or sensors that can beat anyone's stealth?
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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#53 Post by Morlic » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:46 pm

Should we have a "universal" theme for the technologies we want everyone to be able to get, maybe primarily for things like governments, policies, sensor techs, supply boosts (assuming they aren't all rolled into policies), planetary defenses, and the like?
While this may be necessary in specific cases considering current mechanics, I generally don't like this as it implies that there are mandatory techs that everyone needs to have access to in certain situations. This again implies that the underlying mechanic is binary. For example, take current stealth mechanics vs empire detection strength. It is an extremely awkward design. On the other hand, it isn't necessary to have access to the best weapons in each theme: You can balance it against having better armor and/or shields in the other themes.

If you were to remove the binary nature of stealth, it would not be necessary that every single theme overcomes the maximum possible stealth level. Say, for example, there are different levels of vision (arbitrary thresholds)
1) Detection > stealth -> Full vision
2) Detection > .75*stealth -> Full vision on map but stealthed ship still gets first strike bonus in combat
3) Detection > .5*stealth -> Vision of fleet on map; no ship info
4) Detection > .25*stealth -> Vision of fleet on map but only if moving; no ship info
5) Detection < .25*stealth -> No vision at all
In this case, it may be perfectly fine that one theme at endgame has only 50% detection of maximum possible stealth levels: It has the ability to counterplay and may have stronger ships to compensate. Still, the arms race is encouraged and both sides gain something from pushing their detection/stealth. Probably also should have partial stealth bonus when Detection > stealth to encourage actually going for stealth with more than the stealthiest theme but you get the gist.


Overall, I think different themes should tackle the same problems in different ways. You already discussed expanding on poor/hostile planets in another thread. For another example, take supply :
i) Emphasize stockpile and fuel rather than supply
ii) Provide straight out supply bonuses to your colonies
iii) Provide a building with relatively high cost which offers a large bonus (but allow some later passive tech to override that effect to avoid lategame spam)
iv) Decent supply boost but only on outposts, not on colonies.
v) Require and strengthen logistics focus
vi) No "good" early supply tech. May or may not adopt early policy which provides supply but at nontrivial cost.


For detection, there also are several approaches: Empire meter, reducing stealth of enemy fleets nearby our planets, use ship parts instead (meh, micromanagement), rely on espionage to find enemy fleets,...
With redundancy across themes we should probably make any techs that provide boosts not stack across themes, so that say choosing two themes is a guaranteed way to raise your planetary defenses so that you cannot get invaded or sensors that can beat anyone's stealth?
More elegant approaches than straight out non-stacking could be at least in some places
1) Boosts with contradicting conditions (e.g. biotech boosts population on poor/hostile planets but that is incompatible with terraforming)
2) Use a policy where it makes sense and the boosts are of comparable strength
3) Make stacking unlikely or require dedication by putting synergy boosts in mid to lategame tiers. Yes, you may take that biotech T4 which boosts population on good environments AND get terraforming from mechanical T4. That may actually be a viable strategy but it will either come late or significantly delay your progress to high tier techs in either branch.

I don't know if I can make their weaponry and Energy's distinctive enough.
My opinion: Embrace overlaps between themes and use it as a possible gateway to hybrid strategies. Say, both crystal and energy physics get lasers as first weapon choice and will each get different weapons later on. Instead of going deep in one theme and replacing the early game laser, you could pick the refinements for the laser from both themes, e.g. one theme focuses on rep rate of pulsed lasers (i.e. more shots), the other one improves pulse energy (i.e. damage/shot). Add stacking shield bonuses to compensate for missing out on later hulls and at least part of a viable hybrid strategy is born. Balance concerns? Not much. If it is too strong, it can easily be nerfed by not letting some of the problematic techs stack. If too weak, who cares. It's another possible fun build which may or may not be buffed eventually.

To me, there are obvious fluff connections between crystalline <-> energy <-> mechanics <-> cybernetics <-> biotech <-> crystalline, might as well make use of them.
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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#54 Post by labgnome » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:50 am

Morlic wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:46 pm
If you were to remove the binary nature of stealth, it would not be necessary that every single theme overcomes the maximum possible stealth level. Say, for example, there are different levels of vision (arbitrary thresholds)
1) Detection > stealth -> Full vision
2) Detection > .75*stealth -> Full vision on map but stealthed ship still gets first strike bonus in combat
3) Detection > .5*stealth -> Vision of fleet on map; no ship info
4) Detection > .25*stealth -> Vision of fleet on map but only if moving; no ship info
5) Detection < .25*stealth -> No vision at all
In this case, it may be perfectly fine that one theme at endgame has only 50% detection of maximum possible stealth levels: It has the ability to counterplay and may have stronger ships to compensate. Still, the arms race is encouraged and both sides gain something from pushing their detection/stealth. Probably also should have partial stealth bonus when Detection > stealth to encourage actually going for stealth with more than the stealthiest theme but you get the gist.
Morlic wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:46 pm
For detection, there also are several approaches: Empire meter, reducing stealth of enemy fleets nearby our planets, use ship parts instead (meh, micromanagement), rely on espionage to find enemy fleets,...
I like your ideas. The stealth system defiantly needs a re-work, and you should probably start a topic on it to generate discussion and a general consensus.
Morlic wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:46 pm
Overall, I think different themes should tackle the same problems in different ways. You already discussed expanding on poor/hostile planets in another thread. For another example, take supply :
i) Emphasize stockpile and fuel rather than supply
ii) Provide straight out supply bonuses to your colonies
iii) Provide a building with relatively high cost which offers a large bonus (but allow some later passive tech to override that effect to avoid lategame spam)
iv) Decent supply boost but only on outposts, not on colonies.
v) Require and strengthen logistics focus
vi) No "good" early supply tech. May or may not adopt early policy which provides supply but at nontrivial cost.
I like the direction this is going. For the supply building (Supply Depot?) I would say you could put a maximum number of jumps distance-based restriction on the building to avoid spam, IE: it must be at least 4 jumps away from the next nearest or something like that, which would make sense. What strategies would you see being attached to what themes?

Morlic wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:46 pm
More elegant approaches than straight out non-stacking could be at least in some places
1) Boosts with contradicting conditions (e.g. biotech boosts population on poor/hostile planets but that is incompatible with terraforming)
2) Use a policy where it makes sense and the boosts are of comparable strength
3) Make stacking unlikely or require dedication by putting synergy boosts in mid to lategame tiers. Yes, you may take that biotech T4 which boosts population on good environments AND get terraforming from mechanical T4. That may actually be a viable strategy but it will either come late or significantly delay your progress to high tier techs in either branch.
So this is part of what I want to work out as far as what kinds of strategies tie to which one of the themes. Personally

Morlic wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:46 pm
My opinion: Embrace overlaps between themes and use it as a possible gateway to hybrid strategies. Say, both crystal and energy physics get lasers as first weapon choice and will each get different weapons later on. Instead of going deep in one theme and replacing the early game laser, you could pick the refinements for the laser from both themes, e.g. one theme focuses on rep rate of pulsed lasers (i.e. more shots), the other one improves pulse energy (i.e. damage/shot). Add stacking shield bonuses to compensate for missing out on later hulls and at least part of a viable hybrid strategy is born. Balance concerns? Not much. If it is too strong, it can easily be nerfed by not letting some of the problematic techs stack. If too weak, who cares. It's another possible fun build which may or may not be buffed eventually.
I would give each theme it's own weapons, even if similar in flavor.
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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#55 Post by Oberlus » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:07 am

labgnome wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:45 pm
Thirdly, I am currently of two minds on this possibility:
  1. Should we have a "universal" theme for the technologies we want everyone to be able to get, maybe primarily for things like governments, policies, sensor techs, supply boosts (assuming they aren't all rolled into policies), planetary defenses, and the like?
  2. With redundancy across themes we should probably make any techs that provide boosts not stack across themes, so that say choosing two themes is a guaranteed way to raise your planetary defenses so that you cannot get invaded or sensors that can beat anyone's stealth?
Currently I've managed to not require any common theme. Whatever tech/part is necessary from start is granted from start, and whatever becomes necessary later is granted in different versions in some of the themes. Different themes will provide different forms of planetary defences or government policies. Some of this versions of whatever will be complementary (something like Cybertec's planetary fighters + Biotec's tamed Dyson forest + Mech's big surface-to-orbit cannons should be possible, and beatable) while others shall be mutually exclusive (you can't have both a Dyson Forest and a Dyron bubble in the same system, because one would be eclipsing sun for the other; that's the fluff explanation for the given example, the actual mutual exclusion will come from policies, or from specific FOCS effects hardcoded in the techs/buildings/parts).

I must stop for now, but I'll be replying to all the posts in this thread (and the rest of this message). Thank you all for the great feedback.

Edit: more specifically, some basic hulls and ship parts are granted to every empire from start (that is, no changes on what is done in FO right now: you get basic colonisation and invasion capabilites). Then some themes will have better capabilities, some others won't.
For example, regarding weapons, I'm making every theme to have overall good capabilities, but each set of weapons is better suited against for this or that kind of defence. Mech, Crystal and Biotec will have better armours while Energy and Cybertec won't (Energy has shields and some suboptimal armour plates to enable Energy+NoMech strategies late game; Cybertec has the best decoy capabilities, no armour parts in this theme, but it can always resort to Mech). Biotec and Asteroid armours are exclusive for their corresponding hull lines. The same for boosts (each theme will stand up, or down, for different resources), stealth (Biotec the best, Crystal and Cybertec not bad), detection (Cybertec and Energy the best, the others moderate).
This way there is no boring theme (the basic theme) and all the techs can be in the theme tiers to help enrich the player's choices to unlock next tier.

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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#56 Post by Oberlus » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:08 pm

Morlic wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:46 pm
While this may be necessary in [...]
I agree from the first to the last point, regarding both the common techs and the redundancy.
My opinion: Embrace overlaps between themes
That's actually a very good advice. Thank you.
If what I'm trying to figure out about different crystal weapons and hulls complementing each other turns out to be a bad idea, yours is next in the queue.

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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#57 Post by Vezzra » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:24 am

Oberlus wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:57 am
If we can change that to get more distinct themes in the same way, I'll be happy.
Wow, there is a massive amount of very important discussion I'm missing right now... I've been mulling around ideas for years regarding this, and now, when we are finally getting into seriously discussing it, I can't really participate. Sucks :cry:

Well, that's life. I've only been able to very quickly and superficially skim over the pages of the discussion here (and in the ship weapons rework thread). Not done here, but before I forget, just a quick thought (sorry if someone already addressed it and I didn't see it because I replied before skimming over the rest of the thread ;)):

Don't pack so much into each theme. For example, I imagined the whole Psionic/Telepathy thing as a trunk/theme entirely on its own. Another one would be "Lithics" (I know, bad name, but I can't think of a better one right now), dealing with all things related to stone/rock/lithic manipulation. What you call "Mech", I'd call "Robotics", and include everything related to highly automated things, artificial intelligence, highly complex/unusual machinery, etc. Another one "Large Scale Building", dealing with everything related to very massive structures (megastructures would fit in here, as would massive sized constructed spaceships, e.g. "Death Star").

Also there will have to be a number of "social/interaction" themed trunks. Many/most of the Influence, diplomatic, trade, etc. techs would go there.

And so on. I hope you get the idea. :D

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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#58 Post by Vezzra » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:31 am

Oberlus wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:35 am
i got the feeling the one-theme approach induces a lot of redundancy
This needs more discussion :D
I need clarification on what redundancy.
IMO the idea is (or should be) that not only every theme/trunk is just bad at something, but that each trunk completely lacks certain things, or, to put it the other way, no trunk should include everything (essential).

Taking the examples in my prior post above: "Lithics" would contain absolutely nothing Influence related, probably nothing (or almost nothing) research boosting related. Psionics would contain nothing related to ship hulls. Etc.

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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#59 Post by Oberlus » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:47 am

Vezzra wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:24 am
Wow, there is a massive amount of very important discussion I'm missing right now... I've been mulling around ideas for years regarding this, and now, when we are finally getting into seriously discussing it, I can't really participate. Sucks :cry:
I refuse to miss your insights on anything we are talking.
Keep in mind that this tech tree rework is a massive design work that will take a lot of time before any real implementation, so you indeed have time to participate in the discussions.

Don't pack so much into each theme. For example, I imagined the whole Psionic/Telepathy thing as a trunk/theme entirely on its own. Another one would be "Lithics" (I know, bad name, but I can't think of a better one right now), dealing with all things related to stone/rock/lithic manipulation. What you call "Mech", I'd call "Robotics", and include everything related to highly automated things, artificial intelligence, highly complex/unusual machinery, etc. Another one "Large Scale Building", dealing with everything related to very massive structures (megastructures would fit in here, as would massive sized constructed spaceships, e.g. "Death Star").
Your Robotics is currently within Cybernetic (automation, AI, nanotech and other complex technologies).

Mech have the megastructures. It is more industrial than robotic in that sense. Even steampunk.

Lithic can be the to-be-added Crystalline theme.

Maybe I should consider a splitting Energy into two, Physics and Psionics. That would make for 6 distinct themes. I'll see what can I propose and come back.

Also there will have to be a number of "social/interaction" themed trunks. Many/most of the Influence, diplomatic, trade, etc. techs would go there.
I think I can come up with some quite differentiated social/influence/diplomatic/trade "techs" for different trunks. E.g. Mechanical can have the concentration camps, Energy could have some late game influence project regarding a very bright star (non-stop supernova) visible from any planet in the galaxy, Biotec and/or Cybertec could have techs related to hive-mind, communism and the such. Etc.

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Vezzra
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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#60 Post by Vezzra » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:55 am

Oberlus wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:56 pm
Via some internal mechanic that increases the cost of each additional theme.
On the risk of repeating myself too much, I once again want to bring up my tech-cost-increase/tech-"maintenace-cost" mechanic. Meaning, apply the dynamic we do now with increasing the costs of ships to techs: each tech researched increases the costs of further research (thereby simulating that you need to invest effort to keep your current tech levels). This should effectively make researching too many trunks/themes not viable, because the costs of getting to the higher tiers will become unsustainable.
So it is an strategic choice what theme you start researching first (it will be the cheap one for the rest of the game, its apps will be the ones that you can get sooner with smallest cost), and what you begin researching second (because you probably won't be researching a third or fourth theme until you're way into late game). Pro, does not impose an strategy depending on starting conditions, con, it might be a too strong deterrent for multi-theme strategies.

I still don't think it is bad to go for multiple themes. I'm more concerned of gameplay/strategic diversity than flavour. So, as long as allowing multiple-theme approaches does not imply that single-theme strategies become usless (and therefore underused) and does not imply that a single-theme strategy will be systematically better than multi-themes (so that multi-themes will be underused), I don't think we need to encourage or discourage anything.
As I already said at the beginning of this discussion, I don't think a single theme strategy should be possible. That would require us to pack everything essential (offensive and defensive systems, ships hulls, growth, construction, production, diplomacy etc.) into at least a reasonable number of themes/trunks that are supposed to make single theme strategies possible.

Apart from creating an awful lot of redundancy and thereby inflating the entire tech tree, I imagine this to be very difficult to design and balance. What I do think should be possible/viable are "deep" vs. "broad" research strategies:

"Deep" would be researching only into a very low (2, 3, 4?) number of trunks, but researching those very far. That means a high degree of specialization, which can be more vulnerable against opposing strategies because your options to counter are more limited, the advantage would be you get to more of the more powerful high-end techs.

"Broad" would be researching more themes/trunks, but not getting so far in most of them (only in maybe one or two). That means a lesser degree of specialization, which gives you less of the more powerful high-end techs, but you gain more flexibility in countering enemy strategies, because you have more different options.

At least, that's how I've basically imagined the whole thing to work.

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