Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

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LienRag
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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#16 Post by LienRag »

Oberlus wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:18 am Proposal for colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics.
(...)
The more colonies/ships you have, the more influence you need to pay for each asset.
LienRag wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 12:45 am It seems good even though I'm not sure that I can assert all the consequences of it.
Well, I was under the truth, since I didn't even realize until now that your proposition was a big boost for "tall" empires compared to "wide" one.

I'm okay with that since "tall" empires are not a really viable option right
now and that it's in the design goals to allow for diverse strategies (even if I don't like them myself) but have you taken that aspect into account ?
You don't say a word about it if I'm not mistaken...

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#17 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:18 am Comments?
You are mixing fleet and (influence) upkeep and if I read correctly you are not trying to adress the hard questions. What happens with the fleet if you can't/don't want to pay upkeep for it?
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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#18 Post by LienRag »

Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 9:31 am You are mixing fleet and (influence) upkeep and if I read correctly you are not trying to adress the hard questions. What happens with the fleet if you can't/don't want to pay upkeep for it?
I think that Krikkitone's proposal on this thread takes care of that in an immersive and interesting way : Fleet morale goes down.

I think it's the direction we should go for : consequences with dire strategic implications, not hard limits.

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#19 Post by Ophiuchus »

LienRag wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 9:47 am
Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 9:31 am You are mixing fleet and (influence) upkeep and if I read correctly you are not trying to adress the hard questions. What happens with the fleet if you can't/don't want to pay upkeep for it?
I think that Krikkitone's proposal on this thread takes care of that in an immersive and interesting way : Fleet morale goes down.

I think it's the direction we should go for : consequences with dire strategic implications, not hard limits.
I see a lot of unworkable and micromangy stuff in that thread. Soft rather than hard implications I agree. All this needs a lot more work I think.

I am a bit weary that we are a bit neurotic here "fleet upkeep is the answer to stop fleet snowballing! we could not solve fleet upkeep for PP (or there is too much resistance to it). now we have influence, so influence fleet upkeep is the answer to stop fleet snowballing."
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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#20 Post by Oberlus »

The main point of OP's proposal is the formulation of influence upkeep (periodic maintenance payment in influence points) costs for fleets and colonies, in a way that
  1. it takes into consideration galaxy size,so that it scalates well with any galaxy setting (otherwise it could only be balanced for a certain galaxy settings, which is same a saying "it's broken").
  2. it takes into consideration empires' relative sizes, so that it works well with empires of very diverse sizes.
The first point is of uttermost importance for obvious reasons (i.e. it needs to work for galaxies such as 20/2 systems/players, 200/2, 200/20, 2000/20).
This second point is very important to me, to help games in the latter stages still be fun for all players. That is, to keep difficulty more leveled depite some empires having done much better than others (either by luck o skill) so that we can avoid the issue "enemy empire has 3x more production than mine, there's no point on playing anymore, I've lost already", which is typical in MP games, or "enemy empire has 1/3 of my production, this is boring, I claim victory on my own and start a new game", which is typical in SP games.
Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 9:31 am You are mixing fleet and (influence) upkeep.
A secondary objective of the OP's proposal is to make all upkeeps in game to be based on influence points and get rid of all the counterintuitive macros in default/scripting/common/upkeep.macros that do not solve the steamroll problem and create the recurring questions in new players such as "why next copies of same model costs more?".
Since a recent comment from someone somewhere (Vezzra? Ophiuchus? Can't remember who was or in which thread), I'm no longer sure about the need of a complex fleet influence upkeep: if a proper colony influence upkeep can work as intended, it shall suffice to add a flat influence upkeep per ship (and per building; in both cases depending on cost and/or size of the ship or building). At some point you no longer have surplus influence points for extra ships or colonies, so you have to switch production planets to influence, reducing your growth speed: Snowball solved (hopefully).

But I am sure ships (and builings) must pay influence upkeep.
Why ships and colonies?
Steamrolling is not a phenomenom restricted to number of colonies, one could also steamroll fleets. Otherwise, why would have anyone bothered introducing the "upkeep" factor for ships in FO?
Without ships having to pay maintenance, one would look for the sweet spot of colonies per universe size that would allow him to keep building more and more armed ships, probably with bombardment weapons or planetary system destruction weapons so that there's no need to conquest the colonies (that would increase influence upkeep).
No, we need to put a limit on the army sizes, for sure.

Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 9:31 am you are not trying to adress the hard questions.
Well, as explained above, the OP's suggestion is about the formulation for the influence upkeep (maintenance). The hard questions, discussed in other threads, where out of the scope for this first phase of the discussion. But once the formulation in the OP is refined and accepted, we should indeed answer those hard questions.
Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 9:31 am What happens with the fleet if you can't/don't want to pay upkeep for it?
Yeah, what happens? I hope we all can contribute to that question.

From the thread linked in the OP:
Krikkitone wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:38 pm I think that unless the more extreme version (double colony ownership) is used, influence should be a key part of restricting expansion with a non linear maintenance effect for colonies/systems. (quadratic...ie each colony has a maintenance cost proportional to number of other colonies..seems the simplest.)

Basically if "influence maintenance" isn't paid, colony loyalty begins to drop and colonies start producing rebels (which means if you are OK with having a continuous invasion on every single one of your worlds it doesn't matter.....but that should be impossible to maintain, eventually the worlds should become independent or depopulated)

So excessive colonization/conquest is colonization/conquest that you don't have the influence output to support (influence output would increase with tech and at best linearly with # worlds...but probably with a large population component)
I think it could be enough to use a colony rebellion mechanism and leave fleets alone (as in "when there is a lack of influence, the ones suffering it are the civilians, never the soldiers"). That would be simple and probably work well (but we are here to discuss the flaws that can have, right). Hard question here: which colony rebels first? That's for a following post, but some ideas: the ones farther away from capital, the ones with lower happiness (which can/could be different between planets thanks to species characteristics, buildings/specials in the planet or that affect it from the system or supply group, species-empire characteristics, influence projects from the enemy or the government, the pressence of armed ships in orbit, etc.), or a combination of both to help resolve ties.

Optionally, lack of influence could have effects on ships (make them unresponsive, turn then into rogue ships, lower their stats), as commented on the other thread on Morale of Ships. But that is quite more complex because of the hard question of "what ship rebels first?". I foresee this would be more complex than with the colonies.
Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 10:06 am I am a bit weary that we are a bit neurotic here "fleet upkeep is the answer to stop fleet snowballing! we could not solve fleet upkeep for PP (or there is too much resistance to it). now we have influence, so influence fleet upkeep is the answer to stop fleet snowballing."
I hope the above explanations let you undestand that this has resonable purposes, that will improve gameplay in different ways, and that it has nothing to do with anyone's neurosis.
Edit: keep in mind that the OP's formulation makes influence points grow slower with empire size, to a point that having the whole galaxy for you means you can barely pay for the colonies and a small army. This is somethine that PPs (or RPs) production never had, and so, yes, it is reasonable that this influence upkeep mechanics solve the problems that PP "upkeep" (not-an-upkeep) factor could never solve.

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#21 Post by Krikkitone »

The which ship / colony rebels first is not the right question. (you should be able to have 1/2 your fleets/empire rebel on a single turn if you do things in just the right type of stupid (or your opponents do just the right combo)

The right question is what causes a ship / planet to rebel.

1. not enough influence maintenance
2. species-empire relations
3. "influence projects"/spies/etc from yourself and others
4. conditions it is currently in
--planets have an individually tracked "happiness" taking into account all the above factors and others like distance/supply, when it falls too low they automatically rebel
--ships have a chance to rebel each turn based on the above factors and: out of supply y/n and in combat y/n

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#22 Post by Oberlus »

Krikkitone wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 11:31 am The which ship / colony rebels first is not the right question. (you should be able to have 1/2 your fleets/empire rebel on a single turn if you do things in just the right type of stupid (or your opponents do just the right combo)
Yes, but which 1/2 of your fleet/empire?

The size of the rebelling fleet/empire should be proportional to the amount of laxking influence, indeed. So this makes necessary a mechanism to let rebel some parts sooner that others, otherwise you could get your whole empire rebel for a single influence point deficit (if maintained long enough) in a budget of 1k points.

So lack of influence points should affect more some planets than others, for example the (FOCS) effect that triggers the happiness/stability malus from lack of influence points should take that ratio available_influence/required_upkeep into account and select a proportional number of planets, instead of the whole empire, to be affected (their happiness/stability being reduced), thus simulating that the influence shortage is not affecting equally all planets. Which planets to select first could depend on many factors such us policies, species or topology (affect first the planets of slave species, or the ones further from capital) or could be pure random.

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#23 Post by Krikkitone »

# of rebels shouldn't be proportional to shortfall. Instead
For planets the penalty to happiness depends on amount of shortfall. When happiness is low enough there is a rebellion, but happiness->rebellion depends on many things (species-empire relations, policy cards, distance, environment, fleets nearby)

For ships, the Chance of deserting depends on amount of shortfall, policies, species, and current situation

So if your entire fleet is made up of a species that hates you, and you take it into combat out of supply on the same turn your major influence worlds get bombed/captured, the chance of each ships rebelling might jump from -5% (safe) to 50% (your fleet collapses) (maybe your opponent was also running a "military psyops" project that just finished.

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#24 Post by Oberlus »

Krikkitone wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 1:44 pm # of rebels shouldn't be proportional to shortfall.
Why not?
For context: the reason I see to make it (somewhat) proportional is to avoid situations such as the one I mentioned above: the whole empire rebelling just because you had 999 influence points while you needed 1000.
For planets the penalty to happiness depends on amount of shortfall.
(I agree, however,)
same happines penalty for all planets at the same time?

Say deficit is 2% of current needs (i.e. small), and this triggers a small happiness drop of -1 on... all colonies at same time?
If this situation continues, lots of planets of the empire could get to happiness 0 at the same time (if, as happens now, most of them have the same happiness before the déficit).
When happiness is low enough there is a rebellion, but happiness->rebellion depends on many things (species-empire relations, policy cards, distance, environment, fleets nearby)
Continuing with the above example, if 95% of the planets of the empire get to happiness 0 at the same time, you lose 95% of your empire because you were 2% short on influence and were not paying attention to that sitrep.
Another empire that has a single planet with low happines for whatever reason (unpreferred focus, recently conquered, etc.) and a déficit of 5% influence could only lose that one planet and stop having influence deficit.
This is non-sensical, tending to micromanagement, unfair and gamebreaking.

For me, it makes much more sense to let a number of colonies (somewhat) proportional to that 2% deficit to rebel, so that the lose of rebel colonies cancels out the influence deficit without destroying your whole empire and putting an end to your game.

An so I defend making the lose of happiness to happen on different planets, as comented on my previous post.

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#25 Post by LienRag »

Oberlus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 2:34 pm same happines penalty for all planets at the same time?

Say deficit is 2% of current needs (i.e. small), and this triggers a small happiness drop of -1 on... all colonies at same time?

In terms of what would be fun to play, the best thing imho would be to make the Planets that are targeted by enemy Influence projects get this happiness drop.

So instead of having a quite boring "pay influence to reduce happiness in enemy empires" mechanism we would have a "I can try to rush production rather than Influence if nobody's targeting my MuUrshes for rebellion / I bet he's going to overstretch his military so I invest influence to target his MuUrsh planet" mechanism, where good bets would pay a lot and bad bets would result in nothing.



Oberlus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 2:34 pm
When happiness is low enough there is a rebellion, but happiness->rebellion depends on many things (species-empire relations, policy cards, distance, environment, fleets nearby)
Continuing with the above example, if 95% of the planets of the empire get to happiness 0 at the same time, you lose 95% of your empire because you were 2% short on influence and were not paying attention to that sitrep.
I don't understand, Krikkitone is saying exactly the opposite ? You'll lose only the furthest colonies, or the one that are unfavored by your current policy, or the bad environment ones, or those without any military around (or with enemy fleet that they would now consider friendly)...

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#26 Post by Oberlus »

LienRag wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 3:44 pm So instead of having a quite boring "pay influence to reduce happiness in enemy empires" mechanism we would have a...
You talking about influence projects.
Influence upkeep shortage mechanics must work even if no one commits to bad-influence other empires.

I don't understand, Krikkitone is saying exactly the opposite ? You'll lose only the furthest colonies, or the one that are unfavored by your current policy, or the bad environment ones, or those without any military around (or with enemy fleet that they would now consider friendly)...
You might be right.
I understood 0 happiness=rebellion state, then colony loss happening depending on factors.

If step from 0 happiness to rebellion shall depend on many factors, how we communicate real chances of rebellion to the player? Another meter for rebel troops?
I like more use happiness meter.
So I keep liking more my proposal: adjust happiness loss depending on the factors (instead of a new meter rebel_chance) and let happiness 0 (or -X) in worlds without orbiting army mean rebellion=colony is lost.

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#27 Post by Krikkitone »

Perhaps instead of happiness have "stability"

Base value from species opinion
+
Policies* (different effects based on focus, distance to capital, environment)
+
maintenance shortfall * (applied equally everywhere)
+
Influence projects *(from self and others)
+
military in area (self and others)

add all those together

positive-> contribute to your empire (can build ships/colonies/buildings/garrison troops/supply)

negative->generates rebel troops that attack the garrison....and allows you to land troops...if the rebels kill all your troops you lose the colony

The main value of high positive stability would be a defense against enemy interference (military or influence)

* these factors could build up over time

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#28 Post by LienRag »

Oberlus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 4:19 pm
LienRag wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 3:44 pm So instead of having a quite boring "pay influence to reduce happiness in enemy empires" mechanism we would have a...
You talking about influence projects.
Influence upkeep shortage mechanics must work even if no one commits to bad-influence other empires.
Why ? I mean especially, why all of them ?
Especially for rebellion, an extreme result ?
Oberlus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 4:19 pm If step from 0 happiness to rebellion shall depend on many factors, how we communicate real chances of rebellion to the player? Another meter for rebel troops?
We don't. Trial and error, and we give the general idea (which factors do what).
The game experience doesn't need to always be similar to navigating a spreadsheet.

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#29 Post by labgnome »

Krikkitone wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 4:57 pm Perhaps instead of happiness have "stability"
+1
Base value from species opinion
+
Policies* (different effects based on focus, distance to capital, environment)
So currently the proposed mechanism for species based opinion would be primarily influenced by policies.

Preferred focus might cold use an even stronger effect than it has now, any maybe species should also get an "undesired focus" that gives a stability malus.

I agree that distance from capitol should factor into stability, but maybe we should have an "administration center" building for distributed supply-disconnected empires that allows them to keep stability up while perusing their strategy.

Good environments should increase stability, while poor and hostile environments should decrease stability.
LienRag wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 5:12 pm
Oberlus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 4:19 pm
LienRag wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 3:44 pm So instead of having a quite boring "pay influence to reduce happiness in enemy empires" mechanism we would have a...
You talking about influence projects.
Influence upkeep shortage mechanics must work even if no one commits to bad-influence other empires.
Why ? I mean especially, why all of them ?
Especially for rebellion, an extreme result ?
So players have a motivation to keep their influence from going into deficit. There needs to be a serious consequence.
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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#30 Post by LienRag »

labgnome wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 8:23 pm
LienRag wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 5:12 pm
Oberlus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 4:19 pm
You talking about influence projects.
Influence upkeep shortage mechanics must work even if no one commits to bad-influence other empires.
Why ? I mean especially, why all of them ?
Especially for rebellion, an extreme result ?
So players have a motivation to keep their influence from going into deficit. There needs to be a serious consequence.
Well, losing the game because your opponent was able to exploit the weaknesses you created in your own empire seems to be serious enough as consequences go.
And if your opponent wasn't able to exploit these weaknesses, you win because you're a better player than them. That doesn't seem problematic to me either.

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