Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

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LienRag
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Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#1 Post by LienRag »

I have always been quite dissatisfied with the way Domesticated Monsters works, without any of the ideas proposed to modify it really convincing me of their relevance.

There is a topic about how they are too powerful, and I quite disagree with it.

Namely, Snowflakes are fine imho, they make very good but fragile scouts at early game if one has the chance to get them, and when they mature they make capable but certainly not overwhelming fighters, to the extent that they become useless late-middle game.

Juggernauts are indeed extremely powerful once matured, but they are so slow that they make for an interesting challenge rather than "destroying the game" through their might, especially now that fighters can tear them up if in sufficient numbers.
Of course their slowness is less a problem for defence than for attack, so they can be seen as too much an advantage for the Empire that gets them early, but as it's quite rare to get more than one Large Juggernaut, one has to choose between defending one's Homeworld OR the Juggernaut Nest, leaving no good choice.

Krakens are the one who are powerful enough to crush enemy military early game while being quick enough to be deployed to the front line without being outmaneuvered easily, so maybe they are the ones who need some re-balancing.

The main qualm I have with Space Monsters is that if they are on average quite balanced (an outpost is not a small investment early game, so yes like other specials they are indeed an interesting addition to an Empire but can be quite crippling if the investment doesn't pay off and one gets no matured anything for a long time after outposting the nest), all one need is two or three good "rolls of the dice" early to shatter the game balance : a Great Kraken or Large Juggernaut being a, well, unstoppable Juggernaut even at the end of the early game, that can and most probably will destroy everything in its wake.

A good thing to address that "unstoppable Juggernaut" thing could be to prevent any other allied ship to go in the same system than a space monster as long as a specific technology (either existing one in the Bio line, like Xenogenetics, or a new one "Ship Hull Pheromone Coating") hasn't been researched.
That way an expeditionary corp being launched at you wouldn't be invulnerable because a huge space monster is in it, one could use hit-and-run tactics to target the accompanying fleet (notably the one including the troop ships).

Globally, Space Monsters are so dependent on luck and randomness that they really hinder strategic calculations.
It is true that strategy entails both detailed calculations of the different outcomes (and the ways to reach them) and quick adaptation to changing conditions, so having both ships for the "detailed calculations" part and Space Monsters for the "ever changing conditions" part is a good thing, but "managing randomness" is an important part of any strategic game with random aspects and there are too few in FreeOrion (only "build an outpost or don't build an outpost" then "move the monster or leave it mature in an proper system").

Also, they range from underpowered to useless late game, except maybe for Large Juggernauts.

A lot of the propositions I've seen are to make them more like ships, which is understandable strategically but would reduce their unique flavor and thus seems to me the wrong direction to go.

What we need is managing randomness as written above, and specific mechanics for allowing them to keep course with ordinary ships when the game evolves.

1 - Managing randomness :

The way to go imho is to let research modify the spawning and maturing algorithms.
Instead of a flat chance of spawning each turn, once the unlocking research has been completed (either something like Megafauna Endocrine System, or a new specific tech) the formula would be

Code: Select all

Chance_of_Spawn = a + kt + b + c/10
with
a : the flat chance of spawning that we have now
k : a constant determined by the technology level (let's say it would be 0,01 after Megafauna Endocrine System, 0,02 after Controlled Ravenous Bio-Adaptation, 0,03 after Megafauna Ecology, and so on)
t : the number of turns since last monster spawned on the same nest
b : a constant tied to the specie that inhabit the planet on which is the nest ("animal husbandry ability" of the specie). Probably 0,01 for most species, -0,01 for exobots, and varying levels up to 0,05 for "good herders"
c : a constant tied to the species that inhabit the system of the outpost (sum of the values of the species inhabiting the system)

A similar formula, using different techs as unlocking factors, could be used for maturing (t being the number of turns since the monster is on a proper system - there would be a rationale to leave it on a system rather than moving it).


2 - Upgrading Monsters :

Then, to make better monsters as a technological path, starting with Genetic Manipulation we can unlock genetic selection of better monsters.
That would mean unlocking mutually exclusive buildings that can be built on the Colony/Outposts where the Nest is, different buildings being unlocked by different technologies:

- Heterochromatic Enzyme Laboratory : each turn new spawned monsters would gain 1 Structure for Mature Form, 0,5 structure for Intermediate Form, and 0,10 for Spawning form.

To be clear, what I mean is new spawning monsters will get this bonus which grow over time, already spawned or matured¹ monsters don't change their characteristics.

For example, if we have three Larval Krakens, let's call them Huey, Dewey and Louie.
Huey spawns on turn 23 and matures to Kraken on turn 31 then to Great Kraken on turn 44.
Dewey spawns on turn 30, matures to Kraken on turn 50.
Louie spawns on turn 44, matures to Kraken on turn 49 and to Great Kraken on turn 58.
The Heterochromatic Enzyme Lab is built on turn 32.
Huey will then have its normal 20 structure that he keeps until he matures at turn 31 where he'll have 100 structure, that he'll keep until he matures to Great Kraken where he'll have 1012 structure (1000 for Great Kraken, 12 for the twelve turns of genetic selection towards improved structure) until the end of the game or death takes him apart.
Dewey will have its normal 20 structures that he'll keep until he matures to Kraken where he'll have 109 structure (100 for Kraken, 9 for the eighteen turns of genetic selection towards improved structure).
Louie will have 23 structure (20 for Larval Kraken, 3 for the twelve turns of genetic selection towards improved structure) that he'll keep until he matures to Kraken where he'll have 108,5 structure (100 for Kraken, 8,5 for selection) that he'll keep until he matures to Great Kraken where he'll have 1026 structure (1000 + 26 turns since the building started working).

- Muscular Dynamics Laboratory : each turn new spawned monsters would gain 0,1 Speed²

- Chitinous Latticing Laboratory : each turn new spawned monsters would gain 0,1 Damage for Mature form and 0,05 for Intermediate form

- Protein Pre-Folding Laboratory : each turn new spawned monsters would grow 0,01 Damage in addition to the 0,1 they grow naturally (so if this building is built on turn 32 instead of the Heterochromatic Enzyme Laboratory, Louie would do its normal damage at maturation but would grow it by 0,36 by turn)

- Stem-Cells Nanoprogrammation Laboratory : each turn new spawned monsters would gain the ability to regenerate 0,01 Structure per turn

- Bio-Vibration Harmonics Laboratory : each turn new spawned monsters would gain 0,01 Shield for Mature form

- Artificial Insemination Laboratory : each turn the probability to spawn a new monster would be augmented by 0,1%

- Mega-Fauna Hormonal Balance Laboratory : each turn the probability of a Spawning form monster to mature to Intermediate form would be augmented by 0,1%

- Telomere Replication Laboratory : each turn the probability of an Intermediate form monster to mature to Mature form would be augmented by 0,1%

- Controlled Mutations Laboratory : each turn there is a probability of

Code: Select all

Chance_of_Mutation = a + kt + b + c/10
of having Great Krakens develop a new Tentacle, Large Juggernauts develop a new Flail, Large Snowflakes develop a new Sub-part Ray (with a : basic chance, probably 0,01; k: constant given by the technologies unlocked, probably also 0,01 at the unlocking of the Controlled Mutations Laboratory; t : number of turns since last mutation; b : "animal husbandry value" of the specie inhabiting the Gas Giant where the Kraken Nest is; c : sum of the "animal husbandry value" of the species inhabiting the system)

- ExoSymbiosis Laboratory : each turn there is a probability of

Code: Select all

Chance_of_Mutation = a + kt + b + c/10
of having Monsters develop a Symbiotic Krill at Spawning form, two at Intermediate form and four at Mature form (with a : basic chance, probably 0,01; k: constant given by the technologies unlocked, probably also 0,01 at the unlocking of the Controlled Mutations Laboratory; t : number of turns since last mutation; b : "animal husbandry value" of the specie inhabiting the Gas Giant where the Kraken Nest is; c : sum of the "animal husbandry value" of the species inhabiting the system). Symbiotic Krill would act like fighters, and ideally regenerate outside supply at a rate of one per turn (if the code for that is not too complicated).

You will have noted that since all these buildings are incompatible and work only for the monster type that spawn on the attached Nest, the only way to select both Speed and Structure ameliorations for Krakens would be to have two Kraken Nests³.
I don't see why multiple Laboratories of the same type at different Nests should not stack their effects.
Some advanced technologies could also increase the turn-per-turn bonus provided by each Laboratory.

3 - Cybernetic Monsters :

There has been a lot of propositions to make monsters bear technological weapons, which I definitely find badass too.
The ways to make it work were not in accordance with the specific nature of spawning-and-maturing-monsters mechanism, though.
My idea is to use the same principle as above: researching Cyborgs unlocks the building "Mega-Fauna Immuno-Suppression Laboratory" and once the building is built, each turn there is a probability of

Code: Select all

Chance_of_Mutation = a + kt + b + c/10
of having the Mature form develop room for an External Slot (with a : basic chance, probably 0,01; k: constant given by the technologies unlocked, probably also 0,01 when Cyborgs are researched; t : number of turns since last mutation; b : "animal husbandry value" of the specie inhabiting the Gas Giant where the Kraken Nest is; c : sum of the "animal husbandry value" of the species inhabiting the system).
Once the mutation has occurred, the Design Panel allows for the corresponding Hull which has all the characteristics of the monster plus N free external slots⁴ (N being the numbers of mutations since the building of the ImmunoSuppression Laboratory).
The player can then choose whatever he wants to put in those External Slots, and new monsters maturing to Mature form inside supply will get them.

Obviously, that allows for only one type of cybernetic transformation for a given monster type (Kraken, Snowflake or Juggernaut) at a given time.
A more elaborate way would allow multiple cybernetic transformations : when the player saves the cybernetic design in the Design panel, it generates a new building "Design_Name Harnassement". Building one of these buildings on a Nest will make all monsters spawned there to get this particular design when maturing.

A similar building ("Mega-Fauna Internal Physiology Laboratory") would allow integration of internal slots, which in my idea would be limited to Hangar Bays, Krill Spawner and Solarweb⁵.
We could also have monster-specific hangar bays, which would host more efficient fighters (probably by being more numerous). It is also my opinion that Solarweb should double its bonus on Space Monsters given the adequate technology ("Symbiotic Photoelectric generation").

¹ Yes, anybody with a biology background will cringe at seeing genetic selection affecting organisms born after the selection, but the way FreeOrion works as I understand it is that when a monster mature, what happens is that the "larval" form disappear and the mature form "spawns" at the location, so doing it another way would mean changing too much.

² To simplify, I consider here that all monsters have the same laboratories, but it's definitely possible to have Laboratories specific to each Monster Nest, so this bonus of 0,1 per turn would be only for Snowflakes, Krakens would get 0,05 and Juggernauts 0,02.

³ Also it would be possible to alternate between selecting for Speed and selecting for Structure by scraping the Heterochromatic Enzyme Laboratory in order to build the Muscular Dynamics Laboratory, but since scraped buildings give no additional bonus and building a new one takes a certain number of turns, it's inefficient and thus these micro-managy tactics would be discouraged.

⁴ I acknowledge of course that this would require more change in code so that the Design panel would accommodate these features, so it can wait for longer that what I propose above.

⁵ Disruption modulator maybe ? Fuel parts are irrelevant, Speed/Engine parts break immersion imho if allowed on Space Monsters, and Stealth parts also break immersion (except for the Krill Spawner) in addition of being unbalanced.

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labgnome
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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#2 Post by labgnome »

So the first thought I have is that this might be re-inventing the wheel. As I actually proposed something similar some years ago.

My second thought is that some of your changes aren't really doable due to how Free Orion does ships and how it does monsters. Ship stats come from the hull and various parts, not buildings. Also each monster has a set specific design, which has been carefully balanced. In fact monsters don't have technological weapons for reasons of game balance. So, without changing some rather fundamental aspects of how the game works a lot of your proposal just won't work. You also have just too many different buildings. Even if you can only build one at a time at a monster nest.
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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#3 Post by LienRag »

labgnome wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 12:43 pm So the first thought I have is that this might be re-inventing the wheel. As I actually proposed something similar some years ago.

My second thought is that some of your changes aren't really doable due to how Free Orion does ships and how it does monsters. Ship stats come from the hull and various parts, not buildings. Also each monster has a set specific design, which has been carefully balanced. In fact monsters don't have technological weapons for reasons of game balance. So, without changing some rather fundamental aspects of how the game works a lot of your proposal just won't work. You also have just too many different buildings. Even if you can only build one at a time at a monster nest.
Thanks for your input (and for taking the time to read my long post!).

I specifically rejected breeding directly second-level monsters, though, both because the "spawning and maturing" process is interesting for immersion and variety, and for balance reasons.
Even my proposal for raising the chance of a monster maturing is quite balanced imho as it would not raise these probabilities until late-game, and not change the base mechanism, just normalizing its randomness.

Oh, I didn't know about the hulls and parts¹, thank you, that indeed is a problem. Unless there's a way to add a part to Space Monsters that would represent the variable item (like a "Kraken Selection Upgradable" armor part that every Kraken would have and that would be upgraded each turn by one if the building is active, like MassDrivers are upgraded automatically when the techs are researched) ?

About the "too many buildings", you may have a point, though they would be unlocked only one at a time. Is there some design principle that limits the desired number of buildings available ?

I decided to make the "genetic selection" mechanism (which I believe is both original and interesting) work through buildings because it would allow for unicity and to choose what a player wants to breed for, unlike if it was done only through unlocking research (which would entails either the very unbalanced multi-criteria breeding, or via some sort of "priority mechanism" still breed only for one criteria, but without leaving the player in charge of choosing which).

It's doable through Focus, though that would require to colonize the planet (or asteroid belt) and as not every Empire would have Gaseous Metabolism species that is a problem for Kraken Nest, which is the reason why I chose another way. Also, that would be quite a high sacrifice to make to breed Space Monsters, more than I think balanced (at least for the very slow amelioration of their characteristics that I described in the OP).
And it would probably prevent to let people start breeding early for not-unbalancing characteristics like doing it with buildings allows for (the Heterochromatic Enzyme Laboratory is specifically designed for being unlocked early as its effects are not that powerful, a 1026-Structure Great Kraken not being that much more powerful than a 1000-Structure one).

Except if it's possible to have buildings which themselves have focus, I can't see another way of doing it while keeping the very important part of being able to breed for specific desired traits (but not for all at the same time), but I'm open to suggestions.

About game balance, it seems to me that I accounted for it, and by finely tuning the a and k constants as well as the time needed for each building and the technology required to unlock them, we can easily make monsters interesting late game (and make monster-taming an interesting research path) without making the game unbalanced.

Maybe Cyborgs is indeed too early to unlock External Slots for Space Monsters and it should require Mega-Fauna Ecology too ?
I'm certainly open to suggestions about these aspects too...

¹Well obviously I knew about them, but not that it was the only way of affecting ship stats. How does Reinforced Hull work then, by the way ?

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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#4 Post by ThinkSome »

LienRag wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 2:59 amKrakens are the one who are powerful enough to crush enemy military early game while being quick enough to be deployed to the front line without being outmaneuvered easily, so maybe they are the ones who need some re-balancing.
How early is your early game? A few SMH bombers have no trouble with krakens and thats around turn 30. It's just a damage sponge.

PS: Have you played any multiplayer games?

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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#5 Post by LienRag »

ThinkSome wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 2:39 pm How early is your early game? A few SMH bombers have no trouble with krakens and thats around turn 30. It's just a damage sponge.

PS: Have you played any multiplayer games?
No I haven't.
When's the next ?

I did notice that Krakens suffer greatly against fighters though.

PS: What are SMH ?

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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#6 Post by ThinkSome »

The next game will be when:

1) 10th finishes,
2) Someone else organises one
3) I get XMPP notifications working on my server.

Yes, fighters are good chaff against krakens. That should probably be fixed (so krakens only attack ships). SMH means Static Multicellular Hull.

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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#7 Post by Ophiuchus »

LienRag wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 1:25 pmHow does Reinforced Hull work then, by the way ?
The tech has an effectgroup which adds maximum structure to all of your ships. Read the source, Luke.
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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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#8 Post by labgnome »

LienRag wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 1:25 pmThanks for your input (and for taking the time to read my long post!).
You're welcome. It's obviously an idea I have interest in.
About the "too many buildings", you may have a point, though they would be unlocked only one at a time. Is there some design principle that limits the desired number of buildings available ?
There isn't a design principle that I know of per-say, but the sheer number of buildings for one strategy, domestic space monsters, that is far more than what we have for any of the ship hull lines, which is 3. Also they are all called "laboratories" making them feel highly redundant.
I decided to make the "genetic selection" mechanism (which I believe is both original and interesting) work through buildings because it would allow for unicity and to choose what a player wants to breed for, unlike if it was done only through unlocking research (which would entails either the very unbalanced multi-criteria breeding, or via some sort of "priority mechanism" still breed only for one criteria, but without leaving the player in charge of choosing which).
I think that could be overly complicated and difficult to implement. Maybe a tech that unlocks editing the space monsters in the design window would be simpler and more strait-forward.
How does Reinforced Hull work then, by the way ?
I forgot about reinforced hull. However that is a bonus applied to all ships You seem to want to make this similar to "breeding" the space monsters,where new ones would be distinguished from old ones.

However if you gave up on that, and just let the monsters be "upgraded" I suppose you could do some of the buildings as technologies. I think that would be simpler researching a tech then constructing a building. Or maybe they could be policies if you wanted them to be mutually exclusive?


Here's some alternate ideas:
  • Spawning Tank: building increases probability of monster spawns, placed at monster nests. Possibly specific to space monster type.
  • Growth Hormone Injector: building that increases the probability of space monsters maturing into juvinile forms, placed with spawning tank. Possibly specific to space monster type.
  • Improved Growth Hormone Injectors: tech that enhances the growth hormone injector, increases the probability of monsters maturing into adults.
  • Megafauna Veterinary Cynic: building that caused monsters to gain increased regeneration, built on any planet with shipbuilding species.
  • Heterochromatic Enzyme Laboratories: policy that increases space monster structure. Mutually exclusive with other space monster policies.
  • Muscular Dynamics Laboratories: policy that increases space monster speed. Mutually exclusive with other space monster policies.
  • Chitinous Latticing Laboratories: policy that increases space monster damage. Mutually exclusive with other space monster policies.
  • Controlled Mutations: technology that allows editing of space monsters in the design window. Only allows the uses of "apporpriate" parts. RequiresGrowth Hormone Injectors technology.
  • Mutagen Chamber: building that allows the production of mutant and more advanced space monsters, placed at monster nests. Possibly specific to space monster type.
  • Advanced Hybridization: technology that allows further editing of space monsters in the design window. Allows the use of different space monster parts on different space monster species. Requires Controlled Mutations.
  • Space Krill Spawning: technology that allows the production of the krill spawner and controlled krill swarms. Requires Controlled Mutations technology.
  • ExoSymbiosis: technology that allows further editing of space monsters in the design window. Allows the use of Krill parts and the editing of krill swarm. Requires Space Krill Spawning and Advanced Hybridization.
  • Mega-Cybernetics: technology that allows further editing of space monsters in the design window. Allows the use of regular ship-parts on space-monsters.
    Requires ExoSymbiosis.
Edit: changed "monsters maturing into", into "monsters maturing into adults". Oops.
Last edited by labgnome on Tue May 19, 2020 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#9 Post by LienRag »

labgnome wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 10:43 pm There isn't a design principle that I know of per-say, but the sheer number of buildings for one strategy, domestic space monsters, that is far more than what we have for any of the ship hull lines, which is 3. Also they are all called "laboratories" making them feel highly redundant.
I decided to make the "genetic selection" mechanism (which I believe is both original and interesting) work through buildings because it would allow for unicity and to choose what a player wants to breed for, unlike if it was done only through unlocking research (which would entails either the very unbalanced multi-criteria breeding, or via some sort of "priority mechanism" still breed only for one criteria, but without leaving the player in charge of choosing which).
I think that could be overly complicated and difficult to implement. Maybe a tech that unlocks editing the space monsters in the design window would be simpler and more strait-forward.

You seem to want to make this similar to "breeding" the space monsters,where new ones would be distinguished from old ones.

However if you gave up on that, and just let the monsters be "upgraded" I suppose you could do some of the buildings as technologies. I think that would be simpler researching a tech then constructing a building. Or maybe they could be policies if you wanted them to be mutually exclusive?
About the number of buildings, note that it's a number of buildings to choose from, not a number to actually build (unless one gets enough Monster Nests). The fact that they are all named "Laboratory" is just for clarity, it certainly can be done with another nomenclature.

I specifically rejected the idea of using techs to directly give bonus as the main interest of my proposed mechanism is indeed to create competing paths of amelioration.

And making new Monsters better than already spawned ones was the logical way to go based on the "genetic selection" explanation for the mechanism, but it's probably not that important for the gameplay and could be dropped (even nowadays it became possible to genetically edit some parts of adult living beings, so I guess immersion can still be maintained if we upgrade all new monsters).

You are right that what I propose works exactly like policies, the problem I see with using the actual policy mechanism is one of balance.
AFAIK, the new Policy Cards are going to be quite costly, so one will never sacrifice a Policy slot for a weak effect. And we can't make Breeding too much effective or it will break balance.
So maybe have a special Policy slot that is unlocked by Domesticated Mega Fauna and can only harbor Breeding policies ? That's the only way I see to make it work but I'm not certain that the ones working on Policy Card would like to have that.
And I liked the idea that to Breed for more than one criteria, one would need more than one Monster Nest.

labgnome wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 10:43 pm
I decided to make the "genetic selection" mechanism (which I believe is both original and interesting) work through buildings because it would allow for unicity and to choose what a player wants to breed for, unlike if it was done only through unlocking research (which would entails either the very unbalanced multi-criteria breeding, or via some sort of "priority mechanism" still breed only for one criteria, but without leaving the player in charge of choosing which).
I think that could be overly complicated and difficult to implement. Maybe a tech that unlocks editing the space monsters in the design window would be simpler and more strait-forward.

Then you don't want my proposition, because that's the core of it (not necessarily doing it through buildings, but doing it through slow amelioration of some characteristics, choosing which to ameliorate being a hard choice left to the player).
And specifically not editing the monsters in the design panel, which removes the difference between them and ships.

Though I admit that I quite like Oberlus's proposition, namely
Oberlus wrote: Fri May 18, 2018 11:41 am
- Building on the previous alternative, do allow for modified monster designs based on the monster hulls (each requiring its corresponding nest in the planet to be able to produce), that can only fit monster-weapons (that may require to have the nest type of the monster(s) that normally carry those weapons, as well as certain techs, new or repurposed, and it may allow "damage improving by tech-upgrades", or leave it as currently, "damage improving per time after spawned"). All this would add some flavour to the game and expand a bit strategic options (just a bit). Also, for extra flavour, it could allow to combine different monster's weapons (if you own both nests) so that you could do, IDK, a juggernaut hull full of kraken "mouths", or whatever.
Note that it is orthogonal to my proposition, so we certainly can have both.

labgnome wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 10:43 pm Here's some alternate ideas:
  • Spawning Tank: building increases probability of monster spawns, placed at monster nests. Possibly specific to space monster type.
  • Growth Hormone Injector: building that increases the probability of space monsters maturing into juvinile forms, placed with spawning tank. Possibly specific to space monster type.
  • Improved Growth Hormone Injectors: tech that enhances the growth hormone injector, increases the probability of monsters maturing into
  • Megafauna Veterinary Cynic: building that caused monsters to gain increased regeneration, built on any planet with shipbuilding species.
  • Heterochromatic Enzyme Laboratories: policy that increases space monster structure. Mutually exclusive with other space monster policies.
  • Muscular Dynamics Laboratories: policy that increases space monster speed. Mutually exclusive with other space monster policies.
  • Chitinous Latticing Laboratories: policy that increases space monster damage. Mutually exclusive with other space monster policies.
  • Controlled Mutations: technology that allows editing of space monsters in the design window. Only allows the uses of "apporpriate" parts. RequiresGrowth Hormone Injectors technology.
  • Mutagen Chamber: building that allows the production of mutant and more advanced space monsters, placed at monster nests. Possibly specific to space monster type.
  • Advanced Hybridization: technology that allows further editing of space monsters in the design window. Allows the use of different space monster parts on different space monster species. Requires Controlled Mutations.
  • Space Krill Spawning: technology that allows the production of the krill spawner and controlled krill swarms. Requires Controlled Mutations technology.
  • ExoSymbiosis: technology that allows further editing of space monsters in the design window. Allows the use of Krill parts and the editing of krill swarm. Requires Space Krill Spawning and Advanced Hybridization.
  • Mega-Cybernetics: technology that allows further editing of space monsters in the design window. Allows the use of regular ship-parts on space-monsters.
    Requires ExoSymbiosis.

Well, I clearly said that I don't want to really raise the probability of Spawning and Maturing monsters as much as normalize their randomness¹, which none of your alternative ideas do.

I also think that buildings that can be built everywhere are not the way to go, since they make combining effects too easy (while in my proposition it's a hard choice), but I like the idea of a MegaFauna Veterinary Clinic, so maybe it can indeed give small regeneration capacity (that's a bit a basic imho, so combining it with other ameliorations is not balance-breaking).

It's certainly possible in terms of game mechanics to replace all my proposed buildings with policies instead, if the problem I wrote about above is solved.
But I don't think that mixing mechanisms is a good idea here - it's much more interesting to make things mutually exclusive, not combining².

Also, it's not clear in your alternative ideas that the amelioration would be slow and continuous ? That is the other core of my initial proposition and has to stay since that's one of the things that makes it original and balanced.

¹ Yes, the formula I proposed was raising the probability but that's mostly because I wrote it for clarity and because I'm not a very good mathematician - it should replace the random value we have now (so kt+c or kt+b+c, dropping the a) not add to it. Raising very slightly the probability is OK, but not spawning lot of monsters imho.
Note that I was also wrong to tie the Maturing probability to the number of turns left onto the same maturing environment, as it makes leaving the Monster to maturate the only good strategy. We should use another time counter, maybe the number or turns spent on any maturing environment.

² Or at least not combining too easily, so requiring one different Monster Net for each amelioration seems a good way to do it.

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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#10 Post by labgnome »

LienRag wrote: Tue May 19, 2020 6:21 pm About the number of buildings, note that it's a number of buildings to choose from, not a number to actually build (unless one gets enough Monster Nests). The fact that they are all named "Laboratory" is just for clarity, it certainly can be done with another nomenclature.
They're still going to overcrowd the design window with their sheer number. That's going to be a no-go for a lot of people.
I specifically rejected the idea of using techs to directly give bonus as the main interest of my proposed mechanism is indeed to create competing paths of amelioration.
I think that combining technologies that improve buildings or policies you could reduce the number of buildings. Like with my suggesting of the Growth Hormone Injector building, and the Improved Growth Hormone Injectors technology that improves upon the buildings function, by boosting the chances of adult space monsters spawning from juveniles.
AFAIK, the new Policy Cards are going to be quite costly, so one will never sacrifice a Policy slot for a weak effect. And we can't make Breeding too much effective or it will break balance.
The policies don't have to be too costly, and hopefully the cost could be balanced. Maybe being relatively cheep policies could be an appeal?
So maybe have a special Policy slot that is unlocked by Domesticated Mega Fauna and can only harbor Breeding policies ? That's the only way I see to make it work but I'm not certain that the ones working on Policy Card would like to have that.
They probably wouldn't. Also the policies would fit nicely under the "military" policy umbrella, so no need for a new category.
And I liked the idea that to Breed for more than one criteria, one would need more than one Monster Nest.
That's probably too dependent on randomness and galaxy generation to be a viable strategy.
Then you don't want my proposition, because that's the core of it (not necessarily doing it through buildings, but doing it through slow amelioration of some characteristics, choosing which to ameliorate being a hard choice left to the player).
And specifically not editing the monsters in the design panel, which removes the difference between them and ships.
To my knowledge the only way to implement what you are asking for would be to pre-design the new monsters, which with allowing for cross-monster parts and regular ship parts as well would become overly-complicated and overly-intensive to implement. That would also make it a no-go for a lot of the designers. Which is why I suggested the design window. It's an interesting idea but ultimately not feasible.
Well, I clearly said that I don't want to really raise the probability of Spawning and Maturing monsters as much as normalize their randomness¹, which none of your alternative ideas do.
Then what was Artificial Insemination Laboratory, Mega-Fauna Hormonal Balance Laboratory and Telomere Replication Laboratory, don't they augment the probability of monster spawns and maturation? I was only trying to re-name them as the Spawning Tank and Hormone Injector.
It's certainly possible in terms of game mechanics to replace all my proposed buildings with policies instead, if the problem I wrote about above is solved.
But I don't think that mixing mechanisms is a good idea here - it's much more interesting to make things mutually exclusive, not combining².
Then you run into the problem of crowding the policy selection with your monster policies. That's why I kept some as buildings and did some as policies. That way nothing becomes over-crowded with space monster stuff.

Since this is your idea I'm content to leave the numbers and other details up to you and the designers/programmers.
Last edited by labgnome on Wed May 20, 2020 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#11 Post by Ophiuchus »

labgnome wrote: Tue May 19, 2020 9:50 pm
LienRag wrote: Tue May 19, 2020 6:21 pm AFAIK, the new Policy Cards are going to be quite costly, so one will never sacrifice a Policy slot for a weak effect. And we can't make Breeding too much effective or it will break balance.
The policies don't have to be too costly, and hopefully the cost could be balanced. Maybe being relatively cheep policies could be an appeal?
I think there will be very few slots so cost is not the question but how much you get can get out of a slot (somewhere between highest benefit and highest benefit-cost-ratio). So I agree with LienRag here: one will never sacrifice a Policy slot for a weak effect.

I didnt read about the intended effects so i do not have an opinion if we want such.

Technically on buildings: Many shown buildings everywhere are a no-go UI wise. But if these are only available at monster nests a bigger number might be ok. Also one can reduce the number of shown buildings by organising the effects into building-trees like we do with the shipyards. E.g. one could show three mutual exclusive buildings on monster nests and if you build/enqueue one of those, you offer three (mutual exclusive) enhancements to the chosen building. That scheme would allow for nine buildings (which is a lot), 3-by-3 combinations to choose, and only showing up to three extra buildings in the production picker on planets with monster nests.
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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#12 Post by labgnome »

Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 9:19 amI think there will be very few slots so cost is not the question but how much you get can get out of a slot (somewhere between highest benefit and highest benefit-cost-ratio). So I agree with LienRag here: one will never sacrifice a Policy slot for a weak effect.

I didnt read about the intended effects so i do not have an opinion if we want such.
The effects from what I understand of them would be relatively weak, but also accumulate over time. I don't know if this accumulation would be enough to justify taking up a policy-card slot. But that's also dependent on how many policies are available at that point in the game. It may be worth considering increasing the effect so that it's worth a policy slot.
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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#13 Post by LienRag »

labgnome wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 12:05 pm The effects from what I understand of them would be relatively weak, but also accumulate over time.
Yes, you understood right.
labgnome wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 12:05 pm It may be worth considering increasing the effect so that it's worth a policy slot.
That's clealry a big no, for balance reasons.

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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#14 Post by Krikkitone »

Perhaps instead of a policy slot, a set of mutually exclusive "one in the empire" buildings.

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Re: Breeding Domesticated Mega Fauna

#15 Post by LienRag »

Krikkitone wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 1:16 pm Perhaps instead of a policy slot, a set of mutually exclusive "one in the empire" buildings.
That is basically what I'm proposing, with "one per Monster Nest" rather than "one in the empire", as it allows for more diverse gameplay depending on how much Monster Nests one is able to secure.

Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 9:19 am Technically on buildings: Many shown buildings everywhere are a no-go UI wise. But if these are only available at monster nests a bigger number might be ok.
That is also my opinion. Note that late game depending on the abundance of Natives the number of available Colonies in an outpost is quite high too.


Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 9:19 am Also one can reduce the number of shown buildings by organising the effects into building-trees like we do with the shipyards. E.g. one could show three mutual exclusive buildings on monster nests and if you build/enqueue one of those, you offer three (mutual exclusive) enhancements to the chosen building. That scheme would allow for nine buildings (which is a lot), 3-by-3 combinations to choose, and only showing up to three extra buildings in the production picker on planets with monster nests.
That would be nice indeed but since only one Breeding building can be built on a given Monster Nest, it can't work.


labgnome wrote: Tue May 19, 2020 9:50 pm
I specifically rejected the idea of using techs to directly give bonus as the main interest of my proposed mechanism is indeed to create competing paths of amelioration.
I think that combining technologies that improve buildings or policies you could reduce the number of buildings. Like with my suggesting of the Growth Hormone Injector building, and the Improved Growth Hormone Injectors technology that improves upon the buildings function, by boosting the chances of adult space monsters spawning from juveniles.

The problem is that then you'll allow combination of selection criteria, while for both balance and fun I want to make it a hard choice.



labgnome wrote: Tue May 19, 2020 9:50 pm
And I liked the idea that to Breed for more than one criteria, one would need more than one Monster Nest.
That's probably too dependent on randomness and galaxy generation to be a viable strategy.

It is certainly dependent on randomness and galaxy generation, so it makes for quite different games in different galaxies.
In some of them one will be allowed to breed for different criteria (so all interested players will compete to get control of as many Kraken Nests as they can), in other games one will be lucky to get control of a Nest and so should ponder whether engaging in the Monster Amelioration research path is such a priority.



labgnome wrote: Tue May 19, 2020 9:50 pm
Well, I clearly said that I don't want to really raise the probability of Spawning and Maturing monsters as much as normalize their randomness¹, which none of your alternative ideas do.
Then what was Artificial Insemination Laboratory, Mega-Fauna Hormonal Balance Laboratory and Telomere Replication Laboratory, don't they augment the probability of monster spawns and maturation? I was only trying to re-name them as the Spawning Tank and Hormone Injector.
You got me there ! :oops:
In my defense I'll say that raising the probabilities by 0,1% per turn does fit into the "very slightly" range imho.

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