Infrastructure based bonuses

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Oberlus
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Infrastructure based bonuses

#1 Post by Oberlus » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:40 pm

MatGB prepared a PR #1787 intended to balance several learning techs and some production techs.

This thread is to discuss his idea of basing some output bonuses on the planetary infrastructure (it was suggested by Vezzra to open a thread on that for discussion, but I think it was never done).
MatGB used infrastructure on the (currently unique) flat bonus techs: Nascent AI and Adaptive Automation.


Nascent AI:

Currently:

Code: Select all

effects = SetTargetResearch value = Value + 10 * [[RESEARCH_PER_POP]]
Proposed:

Code: Select all

effects = SetTargetResearch value = Value + Target.Construction / 10

Adaptive Automation:

Currently:

Code: Select all

effects = SetTargetIndustry value = Value + 5
Proposed:

Code: Select all

effects = SetTargetIndustry value = Value + Target.Construction / 4
MatGB wrote:I tried the Nasent AI infrastructure change as an experiment and liked it so much I did the same to Adaptive Automation, on balance it's a much more effective change than I was expecting and reduces the incentive to micromanage colony focus settings in the turns after conquest/colonisation.

I've been playing with this for a few weeks now and while the AI hasn't been adjusted I much prefer the tempo it gives the game
Vezzra wrote:I strongly object to the changes to Nascent AI and Adaptive Automation. I realize you have a penchant for basing some of the resource boni on infrastructure instead of population, but AFAIK the (long standing) design decision to base (non-flat) resource boni solely on pop hasn't been revised, so we need to stick to that.

Deviating from that will introduce a quite fundamental change to the intended purpose of population, infrastructure and the basic resource types and how the depend on each other, with far reaching consequences to game dynamics and future game design.

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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#2 Post by Oberlus » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:41 am

Vezzra wrote:design decision to base (non-flat) resource boni solely on pop hasn't been revised, so we need to stick to that
The changes on AA and NAI proposed by MatGB were basing a flat bonus on infrastructure (instead of "on nothing"). There was no non-flat bonus based on anything apart from population. So I understand the proposed changes were not violating the design decision of basing non-flat bonuses solely on population.
What I am missing here?

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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#3 Post by Ophiuchus » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:02 am

Oberlus wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:41 am
Vezzra wrote:design decision to base (non-flat) resource boni solely on pop hasn't been revised, so we need to stick to that
The changes on AA and NAI proposed by MatGB were basing a flat bonus on infrastructure (instead of "on nothing"). There was no non-flat bonus based on anything apart from population. So I understand the proposed changes were not violating the design decision of basing non-flat bonuses solely on population.
What I am missing here?
The moment you base the bonus on infrastucture (i.e. multiplying with a value) it is not flat anymore.
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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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#4 Post by Ophiuchus » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:04 am

Anybody knows where that design decision is documented?
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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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#5 Post by Oberlus » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:10 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:02 am
The moment you base the bonus on infrastucture (i.e. multiplying with a value) it is not flat anymore.
Doh! Now I get it.

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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#6 Post by Oberlus » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:38 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:04 am
Anybody knows where that design decision is documented?
I can't find it. I've browsed several pages with design principles (.3 and .4 in the FOwiki, several thread here in the forum and in the Archived section). Can't find it.

However, I think it is not relevant to find where that was written down. We can discuss it here.

Is there any reason to not base a bonus on infrastructure?

I can't think of any.

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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#7 Post by Vezzra » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:27 pm

The discussion I (faintly) remember has happened long ago. A contributor (Bigjoe5) had implemented a quite complicated scheme where resource/output boni certain techs granted had been based on population and/or infrastructure, depending on what other techs you had researched. The idea had been to offer the player two viable, distinct approaches when developing their empire: either go the increase pop route and base the economy of your empire on high population, or go the "construction route", where you research techs that improve planetary infrastructure, get resource output boni based on infrastructure, basically basing your economy on highly developed infrastructure.

The approach had been rejected for two reasons: first and more obviously, it was too complicated and not KISS. The second one was what is important for our discussion here: It made the game concepts/elements "population" and "infrastructure" too similar, too exchangeable, too less distinct. In FO, we aim for clearly distinct game elements/concepts, because that makes the game mechanics more KISS.

For that reason, there is one, and one element only, that acts as base for resource output: population. Infrastructure is a different, separate concept/element, and therefore should serve clearly different, separate purposes. Using it as a base for resource output boni would go against that principle.

As a sidenote: This is also the reason we changed how shields work long ago. Originally, shields didn't provide a constant damage reduction factor, they simply provided additional structure points like armor parts do.

The only difference to armor had been the way how those additional structure could regenerate: lost structure that has been provided by armor can only be regained by repairing the ship (at an Orbital Drydock), or by the self repairing capabilities provided by the damage control techs - basically the same way base hull structure can be regained (which is how armor still works, no changes here). Additional structure provided by shields however regenerated automatically at a certain rate between battles (usually that regeneration rate was much higher than the self repair rate of the damage control techs). Ships could have several shield generators back then, as their strength would stack like armor does.

That of course had been a much more subtle difference to armor than what we have now. That difference was perceived as not sufficient, so the shield mechanic had been subjected to a major revision: instead of providing additional structure, shields now have a constant damage reduction effect. Which is much more different to armor than the previous mechanic.

We did that because we explicitely want that kind of distinction/difference when it comes to the game elements/concepts/mechanics of FO. And for that reason we have refrained from allowing infrastructure to be used as base of resource output boni, because it would make population and infrastructure too similar.

Of course we can reopen a discussion about that, but there need to be some very good reasons why we should revise that decision and if there is really no other way to make use of infrastructure. IMO there have been enough interesting ideas in the past, we just never got around to actually go ahead with one of them (because there was always something else that had been more important). So I still lean strongly towards keeping that distinction between population and infrastructure.

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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#8 Post by Oberlus » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:16 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:27 pm
clearly distinct game elements/concepts, because that makes the game mechanics more KISS
Fair enough. Now I'm on your side.

I think it will be better for wide strategies based on flat bonuses to have more techs (or give refinements to current techs) so that wide strategy is competitive late game (allowing also to reduce the initial flat bonuses so that they are not the current no-brainer on early-mid game).

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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#9 Post by Oberlus » Mon May 11, 2020 9:09 am

What about basing Industry and Research (and Influence) meter increase rates on Infrastructure?

That's already the main purpose of Infrastructure (also soaking some damage), but it is limited to Planetary Defense and Shields:
- Shields: + {0.25, 1.0, 2.0, 3.5, 6.0} * Target.Construction per turn (modified by current values, but that is irrelevant for my point here).
- Defense net. regen. 2: + max(0.1*Target.MaxDefense, 0.25*Target.Construction)


Currently, PP&RP meter increase/decrease rate is +1/-1(*) per turn, until you get Energy Force Structures (EFS) and it becomes +3/-5 per turn.

(*) This +1/-1 is a source of micromanagement only minimally alleviated by the initial focus change penalty that only applies for the first turn after switch: when max industry is much greater than max research (or vice versa), you can wait to max out industry, then switch to research until it is maxed out (which happens sooner than reaching minimum industry), then max out industry again, and thus you keep on average a better combined RP/PP progression than sticking to any of the two foci.
It is further alleviated if the decrease rate is always bigger than the increase rate, as in +1/-2. Still not enough when one target meter is more than twice the other, but with current mechanics that situation becomes much less common. Coming back to Infrastructure...

Sources of Infrastructure (Construction):
  • Base: 20
  • Imperial Palace (capital only): +20
  • Basic Shipyard: -10
  • N-Dimensional Structures (NDS): +10
  • Megalith (capital only): +30
  • Philosopher special: -20
  • Abandoned Colony special: +10
Ignoring the specials, this boils down to the following Infrastructure levels:
  • Capital: 40, 50 with NDS, 80 with Megalith.
  • Colonies: 20, 30 with NDS.
We could do:
  1. Equal 10 Infrastructure to +0.5/-1 meter change.
  2. Make EFS, NDS and Megalith give +20 Infrastructure each (so colonies have 20, 40, 60; capital 40, 60, 80, 100).
Thus we would get:
  • Colonies' meter change rates:
    • Base: +1/-2
    • Plus EFS: +2/-4
    • Plus NDS: +3/-6
  • Capital's meter change rates:
    • Base: +2/-4
    • Plus EFS: +3/-4
    • Plus NDS: +4/-8
    • Plus Megalith: +5/-10
Abandoned Colony special would give +20 infrastructure (+1/-2 extra change rate). Also Abandoned Fortress.
Other unique buildings could give more local boosts to Infrastructure. Something like the Industrial Center that we already have, but also yet-to-come buildings related to multi-species empires, something that allows to have more planets with greater-than-average infrastructure at the expense of having a less powerful capital (distributed vs centralized strategy).


Every spamalot bulding (basic shipyard, orbital drydock, interstellar lighthouse, scanning facility) could give -10 infrastructure each, so that the four together makes a capital unable to increase its PP/RP until EFS is researched (and then only slowly), and colonies would need also NDS.

This approach discourages spamming buildings on populated planets because it slows down or even halt their meter increase. However it is not enough and might be seen as annoying since it would also encourage micromanagement, specially Scanning Facilities and Interstellar Lighthouses, also shipyard+drydocks.

Removing Infrastructure penalties from buildings and rely solely on Influence Upkeep to control their numbers (anti-spam) would work similarly (better probably), but would not remove the micromanagement issue.

In the end I think the best anti-spam/anti-micromanage measure for buildings such Interstellar Lighthouses and Scanning Facilities (which players want to have always where they are needed) should be through (Influence) policies that doesn't require the player to constantly scrap/rebuild as the borders of the empire evolves.

But meanwhile, we could try the -10 per building idea.


Problem (possible exploit) with all this suggestion that I hope someone can help me solve: a player could freeze a planet's PP/RP meters on a high value by building enough on it and not researching the construction techs. I can't see any situation in which this would be a helpful exploit instead of just a nuisance, yet this might need more analysis.

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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#10 Post by Geoff the Medio » Mon May 11, 2020 9:36 am

Oberlus wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 9:09 am
Problem (possible exploit) with all this suggestion that I hope someone can help me solve: a player could freeze a planet's PP/RP meters on a high value by building enough on it and not researching the construction techs.
There could be a minimum rate of decrease of -1 / turn (when target < current) regardless of infrastructure and even if the increase rate goes to 0.

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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#11 Post by labgnome » Mon May 11, 2020 3:16 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 9:09 am
Every spamalot bulding (basic shipyard, orbital drydock, interstellar lighthouse, scanning facility) could give -10 infrastructure each, so that the four together makes a capital unable to increase its PP/RP until EFS is researched (and then only slowly), and colonies would need also NDS.
The only problem I see with this is that currently we need to build drydocks with shipyards. You would basically need Energy Force Structures to build drydocks outside of your capitol.

There are two possible solutions:
  1. Reduce the cost of Drydocks to 5.
  2. Divorce Drydocks form the shipyard and ship construction. For robotic hulls I'd suggest making them dependent on the nanorobotic processing unit (with a re-name) and making the flux and flux bubble hulls dependent on the Advanced Engineering Bay.
FYI: I like the second suggestion better.

Personally I think that all the buildings should come with an infrastructure cost.

Maybe the strategic buildings, the Bioterror Projection Base, Planetary Starlane Drive, Stargate and Spacial Distortion Generator could all give -5, with the Transformer (another spamalot building) giving -10.

The wonders, the Industrial Center, Enclave of the Void, Solar Orbital Generator, Black Hole Power Generator, Hyperspacial Dam, Collective Thought Network and Genome Bank giving -2.

Automated History Analyser, Planetary Cloaking Device, Space Elevator, Species InterDesign Academy, Xenoresurrection Lab giving -1, with the Concentration Camp gives -15.

This way you can build however you want but would still maybe not want to build everything in one place.
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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#12 Post by Oberlus » Mon May 11, 2020 4:46 pm

labgnome wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 3:16 pm
The only problem I see with this is that currently we need to build drydocks with shipyards. You would basically need Energy Force Structures to build drydocks outside of your capitol.
Well, no, every colony starts with 20, so they can build shipyard and drydock. But then the colony produces nothing: so you better do not spam those until you get EFS (and probably build them on tiny/small planets).
But that is maybe too restrictive. Another construction tech, early than EFS in the tech tree, could give another 10 infrastructure and (if the initial numbers are sound) NDS could give only 10.
labgnome wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 3:16 pm
Divorce Drydocks form the shipyard and ship construction. For robotic hulls I'd suggest making them dependent on the nanorobotic processing unit (with a re-name) and making the flux and flux bubble hulls dependent on the Advanced Engineering Bay.
What do you mean by divorce drydocks "form" the shipyard? Divorce how?

To make robo hulls require Nano. Proc. Unit. we need to rebalance the hull tech tree. What I said in the first reply there is just the beginning. TODO.
(BTW: you say there "I've said before...", but there is no single post of you older than the one I'm linking here that mentions nanorobotic and robotic together.)

Flux Bubble are meant to be early hulls. They were introduced to help Sly in their stealth-distributed expansion. So Flux Bubble can't require Nanoprocessing (unless it is placed much sooner in the tech tree, as in the same place than the current drydock, and that would make it look like a simple renaming, but that needs more thought, to not unbalance the robotic hull line, the above mentioned TODO).
labgnome wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 3:16 pm
This way you can build however you want but would still maybe not want to build everything in one place.
We should keep in mind that the main purpose of all this is (1) give some more meaning to infrastructure in game, and (2) reduce building spamming by making its placement strategical.
The point is NOT to restrict many buildings in the same place but to restrict building spam (many instances in different planets). If you allow that many spammable buildings can be placed together you are not fixing the problem, just adding pointless FOCS lines in many files.

Size of penalties
You talk about -10, -5, -1.
The latter is negligible, I will not bother adding such small penalties.
Small penalties like -5, and average penalties such -10 makes sense.

PersonallyGameplay-wise I think we should not penalize buildings that can't be spammed or whose spam gives little to no advantage, for simplicity's sake.
  • Automated History Analyzer: this is unique (non-spammable) and built early on by delaying initial expansion, which is enough punishment for the negligible RPs it gives (negligible from mid game on). No penalty.
  • Enclave: only one is needed (players could spam them out of obsession, but no player is forced to do so), and can be placed in any planet (it doesn't matter species, focus or anything, so there is always lots of places to use). No point to penalize if we want to allow them in the capital with shipyards (I do). No penalty.
  • Collective Thought Net.: It's already hard to place those away from moving ships, and they will always be placed away from shipyards (enough of a placement restriction), however spamming them could make your empire more resilient to wandering monsters/stealth enemies... Since it is unlocked mid-late game (when colonies can have more than 20 infrastructure) and can be placed in any kind of colony (as with Enclave), a small penalty seems pointless, and an average penalty might not be intuitive and is probably also pointless, and a huge penalty seems disproportionate. I say no penalty.
  • Industrial Centers: spamming them increases reliance against supply disconnection, and they are cheap. A small penalty seems legit and sensible.
  • Genome Bank: same as Enclave, no penalty if it doesn't need supply connection (no risk to spam it). Small penalty maybe if it does need supply, (same as Ind. Center).
  • Bioterror: It requires a specific focus, enough penalty. Plus it is never used. No penalty for starters.
  • Solar Orbital Gen.: need bright star for placing, which is already a considerable restriction. And you might need that same star for energy shipyard upgrades. Small penalty maybe is reasonable, but would start with no penalty.
  • Hyper. Dam: can be placed anywhere and needs supply connection, so small penalty.
  • Black Hole Gen.: same as SOG, but with the caveat that they are late tech and so a small penalty will make little effect and a big one will hinder energy shipyards, plus there are always few BH. So no penalty.
  • Planetary Starlane Beacon: Thsse are seldom used, I don't think they need anti-spam meaures. Also I would like to be able to use it on colonies with shipyards that already depleted infrastructure. I don't know if infrastructure can be negative, and I would not like to force scrapping shipyards priori to planet travel, so no penalty.
  • Stargates: These are not spamalot, are relatively expensive for normal galaxy setting, and to use them you need to change focus (lose PP/RP output). You can build more than one of them, true, but a penalty would imply forcing the player to build them on a player other than the shipyards that will produce the ships intended to use the Stargate (not a problem in multiplanet systems, but still...). I've never seen spamming Stargates. No penalty for starters.
  • Spatial Distortion Generator: This can be a spamalot. I would say average penalty. Dunno really, I never use them.
  • Transformer: Agree, a spamalot, maybe -10 isn't enough. Maybe -15.
  • Concentration Camps: these already down happiness to 0, and when they finish no buildings in the planet are usable, which is enough of a punishment. I say no penalty.
  • Planetary Cload Device is disabled.
  • Space Elevator: Another spamalot for certain strategies. Small penalty.
  • Shipyard upgrades: No penalty, the shipyard plus drydock should bring in enough penalty to discourage spamming.

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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#13 Post by labgnome » Tue May 12, 2020 10:12 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 4:46 pm
Well, no, every colony starts with 20, so they can build shipyard and drydock. But then the colony produces nothing: so you better do not spam those until you get EFS (and probably build them on tiny/small planets).
Two points:
  1. What about outposts, which have 0 infrastructure? Like for the scanning facility.
  2. I think that will still effectively prevent people from actually building them off of their homeworld until Energy Force Structures.
But that is maybe too restrictive. Another construction tech, early than EFS in the tech tree, could give another 10 infrastructure and (if the initial numbers are sound) NDS could give only 10.
That could maybe work. Possibly something unlocked by by Architectural Monofilaments and a prerequisite for Energy Force Structures. Maybe "Advanced Metamaterial Structures" for a name.
What do you mean by divorce drydocks "form" the shipyard? Divorce how?
Something like in my proposal here. Basically make orbital drydocks, a pure repair facility and not a shipyard upgrade.
Flux Bubble are meant to be early hulls. They were introduced to help Sly in their stealth-distributed expansion. So Flux Bubble can't require Nanoprocessing (unless it is placed much sooner in the tech tree, as in the same place than the current drydock, and that would make it look like a simple renaming, but that needs more thought, to not unbalance the robotic hull line, the above mentioned TODO).
Firstly, the (Nano)Robotic Processing Unit could be moved to Military Robotic Control.

Secondly, I was thinking that the Flux Bubble could require the Advanced Engineering Bay, which could be made available at Spacial Flux Bubble. With of course Spacial Flux Bubble becoming a prerequisite for Spacial Flux Drive, instead of Military Robotic Control.
Size of penalties
You talk about -10, -5, -1.
The latter is negligible, I will not bother adding such small penalties.
Small penalties like -5, and average penalties such -10 makes sense.

PersonallyGameplay-wise I think we should not penalize buildings that can't be spammed or whose spam gives little to no advantage, for simplicity's sake.
So I am going to defend giving all buildings at least a negligible infrastructure cost as I think that that is a simpler idea to convey to players, IE: that buildings cost infrastructure, rather than these buildings cost infrastructure and these buildings don't const infrastructure. I merely suggested the small costs so that they could be built all in one place if you really wanted to. I think that understanding that buildings consume infrastructure and managing that infrastructure budget is something that will be more KISS and intuitive from a player perspective.
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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#14 Post by Oberlus » Tue May 12, 2020 10:35 pm

labgnome wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 10:12 pm
Two points:
  1. What about outposts, which have 0 infrastructure? Like for the scanning facility.
  2. I think that will still effectively prevent people from actually building them off of their homeworld until Energy Force Structures.
Right, outposts...
The idea is to limit the spamming of buildings, particularly spamalot ones that everybody wants everywhere (mostly lighthouse, scanning and maybe some more).
The proposed mechanic only serves as a deterrent on production centers, which outposts are not. Allowing spamalot buildings in outposts would mean to allow them on a lot of places, so the problem would not be solved.
Two options come to my mind:
- Outposts could be given enough structure to build in there one single spamalot building after the first tech that increases infrastructure, another one after a second tech. By end game you can colonize everything so there would be no more outposts.
- Do not allow them on outposts. This is the one I like. It's a change, I know, but it is also a change not allowing building spamming. Plus can make sense fluff-wise: those buildings need more maintenance/personal than what can be granted in an outpost.
Possibly something unlocked by by Architectural Monofilaments and a prerequisite for Energy Force Structures. Maybe "Advanced Metamaterial Structures" for a name.
I prefer to reuse one of the existing techs, preferably a theoretical one to give it a more tangible purpose apart from delaying the rest of techs. Arch. Monofil. could be the one (I have to check costs and the such).
So I am going to defend giving all buildings at least a negligible infrastructure cost as I think that that is a simpler idea to convey to players, IE: that buildings cost infrastructure, rather than these buildings cost infrastructure and these buildings don't const infrastructure.
I don't like the decimals on meter growth that does negligible inf. costs would imply, but that is just a matter of personal preference.
I find quite simple that some building cost inf. and some don't, as simple as that some cost a lot and some just a testimonial number, but the former saves as a lot of lines in the infrastructure tooltips and FOCS files.

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Re: Infrastructure based bonuses

#15 Post by labgnome » Tue May 12, 2020 11:44 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 10:35 pm
Right, outposts...
The idea is to limit the spamming of buildings, particularly spamalot ones that everybody wants everywhere (mostly lighthouse, scanning and maybe some more).
The proposed mechanic only serves as a deterrent on production centers, which outposts are not. Allowing spamalot buildings in outposts would mean to allow them on a lot of places, so the problem would not be solved.
The point is they are already allowed at outposts, so what to do about that.
Two options come to my mind:
- Outposts could be given enough structure to build in there one single spamalot building after the first tech that increases infrastructure, another one after a second tech. By end game you can colonize everything so there would be no more outposts.
I like this approach as it keeps outposts relevant in the early game. It's also been talked about for a while now. And would allow for an all buildings cost infrastructure approach.
- Do not allow them on outposts. This is the one I like. It's a change, I know, but it is also a change not allowing building spamming. Plus can make sense fluff-wise: those buildings need more maintenance/personal than what can be granted in an outpost.
The problem is that outside of gas giants, this makes outposts largely just "colonies in waiting", and not of any strategic value.
I prefer to reuse one of the existing techs, preferably a theoretical one to give it a more tangible purpose apart from delaying the rest of techs. Arch. Monofil. could be the one (I have to check costs and the such).
Architectural Monofilaments already gives Space Elevators (another somewhat spamalot building), you might be thinking asymptotic materials.
I don't like the decimals on meter growth that does negligible inf. costs would imply, but that is just a matter of personal preference.
I find quite simple that some building cost inf. and some don't, as simple as that some cost a lot and some just a testimonial number, but the former saves as a lot of lines in the infrastructure tooltips and FOCS files.
See I don't mind the decimals, and would find it counter-intuitive that some buildings had a cost and others didn't. Also even if new players can understand that some buildings cost infrastructure and others don't, they might not easily understand why some buildings cost infrastructure and others don't. And we can't just expect everyone interested in the game to be willing to dig through the forum to find out the reasoning why we chose to do it that way.
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