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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JonCST
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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#106 Post by JonCST »

Oberlus wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:20 am The space-time manipulation thingy [is] about causing a space-time thingy around the ship with the engine inside the ship.
Which is why i was wondering about interactions with weapons. What happens when you hit a space-timey-wimey thing with a relativistic chunk of matter? With a laser? A plasma bolt? A "death" ray? Does the space-timey-wimey bubble decrease the weapon's effect, or does the weapon make the bubble (and the ship inside) go "poof"?
Oberlus wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:20 am [...] it makes little sense to make these hulls stealthy at the same time they are "loud" when using their engines [.]
The way i've been using SFB is to "stutter" across hostile areas: travel towards a destination, and stop and hide when within one spacelane of a hostile fleet. When the hostile fleet moves, the SFB moves on. Hostile planets don't seem to care about SFB, so they can be used to infiltrate/colonize "behind enemy lines" where normal, non-organic-with-stealth-parts ships would be hunted down by the hostile fleets. Live players may defend against this better than the AI currently does. And, it is a nuisance to have to stop and wait, but against AIs, it's usually effective in the long run.

SFBs take about 8 turns to research if you do nothing else. Symbiotic hulls with Electromagnetic Dampening take about 25 turns. If i'm going organic hulls and especially if i'm going to research Active Radar anyway, i usually skip SFB for stealth colonizing.

But, in my experience with organic hull lines, they just can't hold up to SGH or larger robotic or asteroid hulls. I often start with organic, then switch to SGH when it's time to start conquering other empires in earnest. In my experience, the flagship organics need to be either faster to produce, cheaper, or both. Maybe i just haven't learned how to use them properly, but:

Sentient hulls take 225 turns to research, if one researches nothing else. They take 3 shipyard upgrades. They take 8 turns to build. They start with 12 structure. They take 45 turns to reach 57 structure.

SGH take 70 turns to research. They require only 2 shipyard upgrades. They take 2 turns to build. They are 100 structure immediately.

In the time required to build a sentient hull, one can crank out 4 SGH. While it's true that quality can overcome quantity, quantity has a quality of its own.

If switching hull lines was hard, and i was a supply-restricted or sneaky species, i'd probably start with SFB, then do full robotic, and never look at organic.

Any non-sneaky or non-supply-restricted species, i can't see why i'd consider organic at all.

Again, maybe i'm just bad at using the organic line to it's best effect.

J.

PS: to determine number of turns, i just started a new game, the clicked "add to top of queue" for the particular hull, or hull + ED.

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Oberlus
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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#107 Post by Oberlus »

Well, what I wanted to point out about the flux engines is that they are not hulls, IMO. I mean, if flux hulls are using Alcubier engines, other hulls could do the same. The hulls themselves don't have anything distinctive such as the material they are made of: living tisues, asteroids, compressed energy, "living" metal (nanotech), extremely strong alloys (huge hulls).

Right now what I find more apealing is making flux hulls relatively OP and put them on the Void theme.
Giving them low or high structure, or built-in shields, or high stealth... All can be done.

I'm not answering to the (valid) arguments about current organic, robotic, etc. hulls because the plan is to rework them all. So there will indeed be organic hulls for early stealth expansion and combat, balanced as we see fit, the same we will have new weapons.

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Re: Themed tech cateogries (Help wanted)

#108 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:20 amThe space-time manipulation thingy of these engines (Alcubier?) is not about having the engine outside the ship (floating around?) but about causing a space-time thingy around the ship with the engine inside the ship.
You are clearly talking about alcubierre drives, not freeorion fluff flux hulls :mrgreen:
Our flux engines are so massive compared to their payload that hull design completely depends on the engine. So here rather the ship is part of the engine not the other way round.

The way i spun it to take advantage of the effect which allows the FTL there are only two mathematical solutions in order to build such a drive. One is sphere shaped and has a stable inner region and another one which can only take a small payload with it. The flux core tech builds on the bubble by bending the sphere in multi-dimensional space in order to get the threedimensional shape you need for other hulls.
Oberlus wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:20 amAlso, it makes little sense to make these hulls stealthy at the same time they are "loud" when using their engines (due to the space-time manipulation). Current fluff is a bit incoherent for me.
Yes, currently there is no real explanation in the fluff. How I take it: the fields/the propulsion is generated locally and decentralized in all its hull parts (so no big single field but countless small ones). This flux hulls have kind of two operating modes: Floating forward on space contractions (sub-FTL) is very stealthy (no active emissions), but in order to go FTL you need to actively compress and decompress space in a way which leads to noticable disturbances.

I imagine the hulls to move similar to snails or caterpillars through space.

Also we could extend my concept with yours: having a flux engine core part (which is small compared to a space ship) as the high tier tech option from this hull line after flux bubble hull, flux piggyback hull and flux core hull are mastered. So you can combine the good flux effects with hulls from another theme.

I am not completely sure but I guess for the Void side theme i could script up a starlane jump drive: you always need exactly one turn to arrive at a one-hop neighboring system.
Implementation: very high speed, maximum 1 fuel, does not follow normal refueling, maybe it needs some turns to charge between jumps; refinement techs could lower recharge time). If we drop recharging the normal route planning should work out of the box IMHO.
The fluff: the drive is manipulating the quantum probabilities where the ship is located in the universe.
AI support for that would also be usable to improve flux effect planning for the AI i guess.

Also if we have a (mostly) pacifistic theme there could be a engine part which could be "misused" as a weapon.
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Re: Themed tech categories (Help wanted)

#109 Post by Oberlus »

Vezzra wrote: Thu Oct 29, 2020 1:56 pmThere is definitely a need for new techs. We didn't come up with ideas for specific techs, but we agreed that we probably need a new tech category for the Influence/Administration etc. stuff: Sociology. There is most likely a lot of stuff currently in the tech tree that should be moved into that category as well.

Meaning, we're looking at a bit of tech tree cleanup/reorganisation here, which can't be put off until the big tech tree revision.
In the themed tech tree, the Social (functional) category is absent, and won't fit in since the categories are themed. However I am introducing some social techs in each of the themes (e.g. architectural psychology went to Mech, Bio will get drug-fluff techs for social control, Cyber gets network-based social control stuff, Crystal gets crystal-fluff about mind control, Energy gets something about cheering up people with energy-based stuff for leisure or comfort, not sure where to put telepathic stuff, probably Crystal).

The intended structure of the themed tech tree is currently as follows:
- Five main "branches", one for each (main) theme: Bio, Crystal, Cyber, Energy, and Mech.
- Six tiers per theme, where techs from each tier cost roughly twice the tech costs of previous layer.
- One theoretical tech and around six non-theoretical techs per tier, to a total of 180 non-theoretical techs, 36 per theme.
- Tech refinements do not count here as new techs, they occupy the same slot in the tech tree than the original tech.

This sends to the garbage bin all current tech prerequisites: laser no longer depends on mass driver, just on having unlocked the tier that contains it, regardless of mass drivers being assigned to the same theme or to a different one. This means that having the themed tech tree finished will not help with the problem of adding the new Social techs in the current tech tree. It will serve as inspiration the same way current tech tree techs are the model that the themed tech tree feeds from. In other words, most techs in the themed tech tree are just copies of current techs, and new techs created new for the themed tech tree can be copied over to the current tech tree, but without any indication of where to place it in the tech tree).

So I think that introducing social techs could be done independently and simultaneously for the current tech tree and the themed tech tree.
That's why I relegated themed tech tree to the lower ranks of my TODO list, while focusing more in the newly included influence mechanics to get a better idea of what I want/need to do regarding influence techs.

But what has been talked in the latest online meeting (note: I haven't attended any meeting) made me realize

So I'm going to postpone some of the several fronts I have open in my local branches (I really have a problem with focusing in a single thing) and give preference to posting here in the forum what I've got so far, to get more feedback, help me out in deadlocks, and move it on. Maybe some of the (very few) ideas on social control or whatever can inspire new techs for the current tech tree.

But, I'd like to have clear what are the objectives here.
Are we going to keep both tech trees for modding purposes? (there could be a game rule to play using one or the other)
Or are we going to keep current tech tree not fully polished, just as a placeholder, until themed tech tree is done?

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Re: Themed tech categories (Help wanted)

#110 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:59 pm But, I'd like to have clear what are the objectives here.
Are we going to keep both tech trees for modding purposes? (there could be a game rule to play using one or the other)
Or are we going to keep current tech tree not fully polished, just as a placeholder, until themed tech tree is done?
So here is what i think:

I think switching tech trees would be a nice feature and a good way to get feedback on an unfinished themed tech tree.

I do think though that the project is not able to maintain two different tech trees well in the long run.
So I guess when the themed tech tree is ready, the old tree could go to its own mod with an "independent" maintainer.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

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Vezzra
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Re: Themed tech categories (Help wanted)

#111 Post by Vezzra »

Oberlus wrote: Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:59 pmBut what has been talked in the latest online meeting (note: I haven't attended any meeting) made me realize
That sentence looks incomplete... made you realize what? (Just curious ;))
Are we going to keep both tech trees for modding purposes? (there could be a game rule to play using one or the other)
No, that idea never ocurred to me.

The new tech tree will come with substantial changes in the backend code, if implemented as currently envisioned, and I don't think it would be a good idea to keep two different tech tree mechanics. We haven't done that for any other game mechanic/element, that just makes things unreasonably complex.
Or are we going to keep current tech tree not fully polished, just as a placeholder, until themed tech tree is done?
This.

It's just that the new tech tree is such a huge revision, that we don't know when we will get to it. That could be several release cycles away, and we can't just let the current tech tree fall into complete disarray. We have to put enough effort into it's maintenance so it stays at least somewhat reasonable and useable, even if that effort is more or less wasted once we switch to the new tech tree.

I don't see how that can be avoided...

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Re: Themed tech categories (Help wanted)

#112 Post by Oberlus »

The unfinished sentence (multitasking isn't my best skill): made me realize I could be delaying development.

Agree on everything.

So, then, I think it's better to flesh out and implement the pending reworks before finishing the themed tech tree.

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