Influence mechanics brainstorming

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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#16 Post by Oberlus »

Vezzra wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:06 am One way or the other we'll have to make sure that IP production will scale well enough to meet the IP maintenance costs of even very big empires on very large maps. We must avoid a hard cap - meaning, there must not be an upper limit of systems/colonies an empire can sustain with all IP production boosts maxed out (all max boni from techs, buildings and specials). The IP maintenance costs have to stay a soft cap on even the largest maps.

How to achieve that is a different question. Scaling the costs depending on map size is one option, probably the most simple one. It's certainly something we can always fall back on if everything else fails, but personally I'd prefer if we could achieve that goal by clever design and balancing of the involved mechanics and elements.

However we're going to do it in the end, the concern most certainly is valid and needs to be addressed. A hard cap on how big empires can grow is not acceptable.
I agree, a hard cap is not acceptable.

The system proposed in the online meeting:
Vezzra wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:08 pm I'd suggest, for a first implementation, to keep to something very simple (meaning, not yet taking into account all possible factors, but maybe just have a cost of x IP per system an empire has colonies in, plus y IP per colony).

As the basic idea is to have IP costs not grow linearly, but exponentially with number of colonies, a first very simple formula that has been suggested is making the IP costs dependent on distance to capital, with another increase in costs if a colony/system isn't supply connected to the capital.
Some thoughts:
- "another increase in costs if a colony/system isn't supply connected to the capital": Supply disconnected empires would suffer. They already suffer the low stockpile extraction capacities, losing production when setting some planets to stockpile focus, and having to devote also extra systems to compensate for extra influence costs will have to be balanced somehow, since distributed empires are currently not the most efficient or effective strategy. Maybe a policy that reduces or disables the increased IP costs for disconnected systems, or reducing/disabling it depending on the stockpile trait of the species in the disconnected systems/planets, or both, or something else. I prefer a policy than a building, like the one suggested by labgnome.
In any case, managing this restriction seems not easy (when an empire has N supply groups, how does the malus apply? equally to every supply group? to all but the one connected to the capital system? other?). So I recommend to just discard this requirement for 0.5, or at least until the rest of the mechanics are in place and we can see how it works and if upkeep per colony is enough, and let disconnected empires not require any extra balancing (they already have a burden from ebing disconnected).
- "x IP per system an empire has colonies in": I would stick to just "y IP per colony". Otherwise we are encouraging empires to focus on multi-planet systems, which are already the preferred ones (easier to defend from multiple planetary defenses, usually with asteroids or GGs to boost production). And this also hinders stealth distributed empires (that usually focus on getting only the planets good for the high stealth species, like GGs for Sly or swamp/ocean/terran for Laenfa).
- "a first very simple formula that has been suggested is making the IP costs dependent on distance to capital": distance is appealing, easy to understand and relatively easy to manage (you want the closes planets first). But again this goes in detriment of stealth distributed empires, and requires more complex calculations if using hop distance (unless inter-system distances are calculated and stored just once, IDK). The formula would be something like

IP_upkeep(colony) = C * (1+R)^distance(colony, capital)
Where
- C is the starting IP cost per colony (say 1).
- R is the growth rate (e.g. 0.1 for a 10% increase per distance unit; I'm not suggesting that value).
- distance between colony and capital is measured in hops or straight line (more meaningful the former, but more computational demanding; both similarly easy to estimate by players).

For C=1 IP, R=0.1 and distance in hops, the IP consumed in each colony depending on distance would be 1.1 for one hop, 1.21 for two, 2.59 for ten, 6.73 for twenty...

R could be adjusted to the galaxy hops diameter, so that average colony upkeep when conquering the whole galaxy implies IP costs to force most colonies (80%? 95%? not easy, needs math) to influence focus. It requires to estimate average colony upkeep for a "unbiased" capital world location (not in the center, not in a corner). The fact that center empires get benefited on the long run from this formula seems interesting for balance purposes (empires starting in the center tend to be in disadvantage). Because galaxy shapes do influence that average value, we would need several equations (maybe not as many as galaxy shapes). All this seems rather non-simple, especially for implementation (the equations must be right) and player estimation of future costs. However, if someone can come up with the equations for each galaxy shape, I guess the player concerns are of less importance here.

Ignoring distance in the upkeep costs and just considering percentage of galaxy colonized by the empire means that all concerns about hindering distributed empires get solved at once, and that only a single equation to adjust IP colony upkeep to galaxy size is required.
The alternative I suggested in the other thread does not take into account distance to capital, just galaxy size, but it used a linear growth equation. We could use something like the following instead to ensure exponencial upkeep cost increase:
IP_upkeep(colony) = M^(empire_colonies/galaxy_planets)
Where
- M is the maximum cost per colony when the whole galaxy is colonized by the empire.

M should be adjusted so that most colonies would be forced to influence when 100% of the galaxy is owned by the empire, and that is easier than with distance models (see the other thread for some discussion on the subject).


I think this means that the clever solution is to avoid distance in the equations.

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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#17 Post by Ophiuchus »

Vezzra wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:08 pm As the basic idea is to have IP costs not grow linearly, but exponentially with number of colonies, a first very simple formula that has been suggested is making the IP costs dependent on distance to capital, with another increase in costs if a colony/system isn't supply connected to the capital.
Was there discussion of doing the opposite - linear cost but making acquiring new sources of influence less and less fruitful - so inverse exponential growth of IP with the number of colonies.
In the suggested version, was the idea to make other costs also exponentially more expensive (e.g. adoption of policies)? Or only having colonies?
Vezzra wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:08 pm Consequences of an IP deficit: There are various ideas (see above, IP costs for fleet orders etc.), some of which might have issues (again, see discussion above). One thing that will work "out of the box" is that you can't do things that cost influence of course (so, e.g. no adopting policies). That alone won't be enough though, so another thing we could agree on yesterday was that an IP deficit should impact the stability (former happiness) stat. Once stability drops below certain tresholds, things should happen.
yet another idea: for each point of deficit remove one point of stability somewhere in the empire. Defense focus gives a boost to stability. If stability is zero or lower the planet automatically switches to defense focus and a sitrep is produced. If stability is low if defense focus is set, a small amount of rebels gets created on the planet each turn. If the number of troops drops below the number of rebels (or the number of rebels grows higher than the number of troops) the planet goes independent. Rebels do not vanish on their own so these might be accumulating even if the planet gets stabilized inbetween. Succesful invasion does not reduce the number of rebels. But one could kill just some of the troops and let the natives have their way with their oppressors.

The randomness solves the question which planets get destabilized - combined with the gradual process and the auto-save (defense focus) this makes it fair in a sense. Having a planet occupied with defense reduces resource-generation. Maybe one way to get rid of rebels is to let the planet go independent and reinvade. But you still need to wait for the rebels to take over before - so this would be very costly. Maybe it would help to evade some of the poor population from that instable planet so those can live a life without fear (and to reduce the number of troops).
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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#18 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Oberlus wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:42 pmIs there a way to make one-time withdrawals from the accumulated IP, like when adopting policies, in FOCS?
Other than policy adoption costs, no. There is a stockpile setting effect, but the parsing only handles it for the production stockpile and hasn't been updated to allow setting the influence stockpile with a scripted effect.

The bigger issues are whether and what should use such an effect for setting the influence stockpile, and how to limit and display the changes.

Presently, the predicted influence stockpile change takes into account all the influence meters of owned objects and the adoption costs of policies whose initial adoption turn is the current turn. If there were to also be effects modifying the influence stockpile, then there would need to be some direct accounting for the stockpile as well, which presently there isn't. Perhaps the stockpiles should be converted into standard empire meters and accounting finally added to them... I'm not sure.

Alternatively, it might be better to avoid / not allow effects modifying the stockpiles directly, as it would be more complicated to have a mix of C++ code accumulating influence/industry meters and influence/production queue consumption with effects that directly modify the stockpiles...

Or perhaps indirect modification of the stockpiles via a separate "stockpile consumption" empire meter that is set by effects, and which is included in the actual stockpile update like object resource meters and policy adoption costs...

Not sure... need to think about it / try implementing stuff.
Does target influence meters allow negative values (so that each turn they take from the accumulated IP)?
Yes.

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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#19 Post by Vezzra »

Oberlus wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:27 pm"another increase in costs if a colony/system isn't supply connected to the capital": Supply disconnected empires would suffer.
That concern has already been raised, and I agree, it needs to be addressed. The question is how...
They already suffer the low stockpile extraction capacities, losing production when setting some planets to stockpile focus, and having to devote also extra systems to compensate for extra influence costs will have to be balanced somehow, since distributed empires are currently not the most efficient or effective strategy. Maybe a policy that reduces or disables the increased IP costs for disconnected systems, or reducing/disabling it depending on the stockpile trait of the species in the disconnected systems/planets, or both, or something else. I prefer a policy than a building, like the one suggested by labgnome.
This is true, and needs to be addressed. However, this, as you correctly point out, isn't just, or better, isn't really an issue with distance based IP costs, but a much broader issue with supply disconnected empires and how to make them a really viable choice.

I've opened a separate thread where I want to propose a mechanic that should help address the fundamental issues raised by supply disconnected empires.
In any case, managing this restriction seems not easy (when an empire has N supply groups, how does the malus apply? equally to every supply group? to all but the one connected to the capital system? other?).
I'm not sure I follow - what has the number of spearate supply groups to do with it? The only factor would be "is a colony supply connected to the capital". If yes, normal costs apply. If not, the costs are increased by a certain factor (1.1 or whatever, I would not set it too high, at least not in the first iteration).

The only special case I see that will be difficult to handle is if there is not only no supply connection, but if there is no starlane connection at all (for whatever reason - a starlane has been removed, you gained a colony in a disconnected part of the map because of an event, etc.). Then it wouldn't be possible to calculate a hop distance at all, meaning the IP costs for such a colony needed to be calculated differently. Basically we need a fallback for that special case.

Fortunately that's a very rare edge case.
So I recommend to just discard this requirement for 0.5, or at least until the rest of the mechanics are in place and we can see how it works
That's certainly an option. Personally I don't expect the issues you brought up to be a real concern, especially if we address the issues of supply disconnected empires with the proposed "Origin" concept, but I'm not that strongly opposed to the idea to first try it without incurring extra costs for not supply connected colonies.
"x IP per system an empire has colonies in": I would stick to just "y IP per colony". Otherwise we are encouraging empires to focus on multi-planet systems, which are already the preferred ones (easier to defend from multiple planetary defenses, usually with asteroids or GGs to boost production). And this also hinders stealth distributed empires (that usually focus on getting only the planets good for the high stealth species, like GGs for Sly or swamp/ocean/terran for Laenfa).
IIRC the idea behind this was to encourage exactly that - players focusing on multi-planet systems, and make putting colonies everywhere more costly, so that colonizing as much systems as possible isn't really viable. Of course, if you want such a dynamic very much depends what your personal preferences are. So I can certainly see where you're coming from.

The best idea would probably to have a policy for that - depending on what the "default" case should be, either a policy that removes the system IP costs in exchange for higher colony IP costs (in that case having system and colony IP costs would be the default), or a policy that reduces colony IP costs, in exchange for now having to also pay IP costs for each system you have colonies in (in that case having IP costs only for colonies would be the default).

The latter is probably better, expecially if we want to start simple for 0.5.

As far as supply disconnected empires are concerned -> "Origins" would solve that.
- "a first very simple formula that has been suggested is making the IP costs dependent on distance to capital": distance is appealing, easy to understand and relatively easy to manage (you want the closes planets first).
Exactly. And the "exponentially increasing IP costs" effect would more or less happen automatically, no need for complicated formulas or calculation, as you seem to assume - see my answer to your concerns below.
But again this goes in detriment of stealth distributed empires
Which I hope can again be addressed by the "Origins" concept.
and requires more complex calculations if using hop distance (unless inter-system distances are calculated and stored just once, IDK). The formula would be something like

IP_upkeep(colony) = C * (1+R)^distance(colony, capital)
Where
- C is the starting IP cost per colony (say 1).
- R is the growth rate (e.g. 0.1 for a 10% increase per distance unit; I'm not suggesting that value).
- distance between colony and capital is measured in hops or straight line (more meaningful the former, but more computational demanding; both similarly easy to estimate by players).

For C=1 IP, R=0.1 and distance in hops, the IP consumed in each colony depending on distance would be 1.1 for one hop, 1.21 for two, 2.59 for ten, 6.73 for twenty...
Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on for a moment, not so fast! ;) You think way too complicated, my idea was much more simple: colony IP cost depend on distance to capital - period. No need to increase the costs of a hop the farther away we get, so just:

IP_upkeep(colony) = C * distance(colony, capital)

Assuming C=1 (for simplicity sake), that means colonies one hop away from capital cost 1IP upkeep, 2 hops away will cost 2IP upkeep and so on. Increasing IP costs for colonies the bigger your empire gets comes, as I said above, automatically, because the bigger you get, the more and farther away colonies (which are more expensive) you have to sustain - non-linear growth of IP costs, checked. ;)

And it's achieved by the most simple formula possible. Which is why I would try that for 0.5 and see how well it works, because if it does, we'd have something that is both effective and simple. I don't see how you could get non-linear IP cost increase for colonies more KISS than that...

Of course, as you very rightly point out, that leaves the issue of how to avoid a hard cap to be solved.
R could be adjusted to the galaxy hops diameter, so that average colony upkeep when conquering the whole galaxy implies IP costs to force most colonies (80%? 95%? not easy, needs math) to influence focus.
I don't think that such an approach is necessary, or desired. The IP maintenance cost mechanic is supposed to slow down the snowballing growth effect (caused by exponentially increasing resource output), not to actually make very large empires harder to maintain. It should just require more effort to get there, not make it impossible.

Meaning, I don't see the need to actually balance the mechanic in a way that would require the player to sacrifice an ever growing part of their colonies to Influence focus. There should be means (which of course need to be acquired by making investments like researching certain techs) that allow an empire to cut back on the number of colonies it needs to dedicate to IP production, or to sustain more colonies with the same amount of colonies set to Influence focus.
It requires to estimate average colony upkeep for a "unbiased" capital world location (not in the center, not in a corner). The fact that center empires get benefited on the long run from this formula seems interesting for balance purposes (empires starting in the center tend to be in disadvantage). Because galaxy shapes do influence that average value, we would need several equations (maybe not as many as galaxy shapes). All this seems rather non-simple, especially for implementation (the equations must be right) and player estimation of future costs. However, if someone can come up with the equations for each galaxy shape, I guess the player concerns are of less importance here.
Galaxy shape most certainly is going to have a significant impact if we base IP costs on distance to capital, but that's actually a good thing IMO, because it makes the choice of the galaxy shape more interesting, and the different galaxy shapes offer more distinct gameplay experiences. The effect it has on where you start (center or edgde) is also something I like very much.

The key, again, will be to design the entire mechanic in a way that it can scale dynamically with map size, by providing the player with the means to boost their IP production, reduce their colony IP costs, and whatever else can help in that department that will ultimately allow them to create empires of any size.
Ignoring distance in the upkeep costs and just considering percentage of galaxy colonized by the empire means that all concerns about hindering distributed empires get solved at once, and that only a single equation to adjust IP colony upkeep to galaxy size is required.
The alternative I suggested in the other thread does not take into account distance to capital, just galaxy size, but it used a linear growth equation. We could use something like the following instead to ensure exponencial upkeep cost increase:
IP_upkeep(colony) = M^(empire_colonies/galaxy_planets)
Where
- M is the maximum cost per colony when the whole galaxy is colonized by the empire.

M should be adjusted so that most colonies would be forced to influence when 100% of the galaxy is owned by the empire, and that is easier than with distance models (see the other thread for some discussion on the subject).
That approach simplifies things when focusing on the one end of the problem - end game, when empires encompass significant or the largest part of the map, avoiding the hard cap. But aside from being less interesting than e.g. distance based IP costs, it actually raises very different issues on the other end of the problem - game start.

Because if you set up a game where map size and number of players is chosen so that there are, say, ~30 systems per player, it doesn't (or it shouldn't) make any difference at all how big the entire map is up until at least the point where empires reach a size of ~30 colonies. And even then things shouldn't make much of a difference, aside from the fact that you now need to fight for space because you've run out of it. But a 100 colony empire should not play differently on a 200 systems map than on a 2000 systems map.

You can't sustain that when you start adjusting costs (regardless for what) to map size. Because it makes costs for things very different right from game start, when you're still far from becoming so large that being on a extremely big map triggers issues. Wether a colony costs 1IP or 0.1IP when you start will have tremendous impact on how well the IP cost mechanic can do it's job, balance completely changes when costs changes.

Scaling the IP costs with map size will have the effect that empires on large maps grow significantly faster than on small maps - and I don't think that's a good idea. The reason why you might want to play on a big map might be that you want a game with a lot of players, but still 30 systems per player. And the game shouldn't go faster just because you're on a bigger map.

Aside from the fact that how much of an advantage your starting species having good influence or how much of an disadvantage having bad influence will change drastically, basically screwing up balancing species traits. Which brings me to the core problem of that approach: you're creating a balancing nightmare. You can't just balance one element or factor in the whole equation that is the game and all it's mechanics and elements - if you scale with map size, you'd have to scale practically everything. Otherwise the balance between stuff that scales with map size and stuff that doesn't will change (drastically!) depending on map size...

I hope you can see the issue.

My solution would be to provide enough things the player can acquire so they can continue boosting their IP production and reducing their IP consumption. Some of which have to be kind of "repeatable", meaning, you have to be able to apply them an infinite number to times, while still getting benefit from them.

Example: the "Administrative Center" labgnome suggested elsewhere. IP costs for colonies could be calculated based on distance to the nearest Adminstrative Center (which would make the colonies they are placed on some kind of "Sector Capital") instead just the capital (or, more precise, the Imperial Palace, which would count as a Administrative Center for that purpose). Unlike the Imperial Palace however, the colony the Administrative Center is build on will have vastly increased IP costs, based on distance to the capital - thus discouraging spamming Adminstrative Centers.

Add to that techs that let you increase IP production, decrease colony IP consumption (e.g. by reducing the IP costs per hop), have refinements for the Imperial Palace and the Administrative Center that make them more effective, and ultimately, as some very high end late game tech, provide something that finally brings IP cost increase for additional colonies down to linear progression (which basically allows for inifinte further growth of the empire), which at that point in the game shouldn't be an issue.

That would be my approach to tackle that admittedly tricky issue.

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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#20 Post by Vezzra »

Ophiuchus wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:17 pmWas there discussion of doing the opposite - linear cost but making acquiring new sources of influence less and less fruitful - so inverse exponential growth of IP with the number of colonies.
Not that I'm aware, but I don't think that's a good idea anyway. Because then the "exponential cost" effect would apply to all things which have IP costs, and that's not necessarily what we want. IP costs for some things should scale exponentially, but most likely not all.
In the suggested version, was the idea to make other costs also exponentially more expensive (e.g. adoption of policies)? Or only having colonies?
AFAIK there has only been the idea to scale colony IP costs, but the adoption of policies you mentioned are a good example for something that should probably scale with empire size as well. It makes a lot of sense that the cost for something that gets applied to the entire empire should scale with empire size.
yet another idea: for each point of deficit remove one point of stability somewhere in the empire. Defense focus gives a boost to stability. If stability is zero or lower the planet automatically switches to defense focus and a sitrep is produced. If stability is low if defense focus is set, a small amount of rebels gets created on the planet each turn. If the number of troops drops below the number of rebels (or the number of rebels grows higher than the number of troops) the planet goes independent. Rebels do not vanish on their own so these might be accumulating even if the planet gets stabilized inbetween. Succesful invasion does not reduce the number of rebels. But one could kill just some of the troops and let the natives have their way with their oppressors.

The randomness solves the question which planets get destabilized - combined with the gradual process and the auto-save (defense focus) this makes it fair in a sense. Having a planet occupied with defense reduces resource-generation. Maybe one way to get rid of rebels is to let the planet go independent and reinvade. But you still need to wait for the rebels to take over before - so this would be very costly. Maybe it would help to evade some of the poor population from that instable planet so those can live a life without fear (and to reduce the number of troops).
Well, something not entirely different is planned or, regarding the rebel troops, actually already (at least partly) implemented (just not used ATM). The random distribution of stability points reduction has issues though - for one, AFAIK, the effect system isn't really compatible with such an approach, and second, we try to avoid such random changes to a stat.

Better to find a deterministic formula for decreasing stability of your colonies in case of a IP deficit. Probably one where colonies with high IP costs (which should be the ones where there are problems of whatever kind) have the higher stability loss. Which will lead to colonies that are already problematic be the first to become unstable, which makes sense.

Having a focus setting that allow you to increase stability makes sense, but I wouldn't take the Defence focus for that, but a dedicated one ("Supress unrest" or something like that). And I wouldn't switch automatically, especially when changing focus costs IP.

Regarding the rebel troops the idea is more along the lines that below a certain treshold of stability rebel troops get generated, the more the lower stability is. Once rebel troops get generated, ground combat takes place. As long as there are more regular troops than rebel troops, the rebels get defeated and the colony remains under your control. But once the amount of rebel troops that get generated each turn surpass troop regeneration, the regular troops will begin tu suffer from attrition, and if the situation continues too long, the rebel troops will at some point wipe out the regular troops, and you loose control of the colony.

You can of course always bring in reinforcements by troop ships.

That mechanic avoids the issues of your suggestion - rebels not vanishing and then having to resort to letting them first take over and then invade to recapture etc. That's unnecessarily clunky and complicated IMO.

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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#21 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Vezzra wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:03 pm...the adoption of policies you mentioned are a good example for something that should probably scale with empire size as well.
They already do eg. https://github.com/freeorion/freeorion/ ... ocs.txt#L6

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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#22 Post by Ophiuchus »

Vezzra wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:03 pmThe random distribution of stability points reduction has issues though - for one, AFAIK, the effect system isn't really compatible with such an approach, and second, we try to avoid such random changes to a stat.
I am pretty sure I can code that effect up pretty easily in the backend. Evacuation also does something similar in FOCS. Main question would be the kind of randomness for user interface (in order to give a correct preview). I also think a deterministic solution would be better - randomness is just one option to remove complexity.
Vezzra wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:03 pm Better to find a deterministic formula for decreasing stability of your colonies in case of a IP deficit. Probably one where colonies with high IP costs (which should be the ones where there are problems of whatever kind) have the higher stability loss. Which will lead to colonies that are already problematic be the first to become unstable, which makes sense.
Good enough to try out. You mean a planetary effect based on the local IP meter?
Vezzra wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:03 pm Having a focus setting that allow you to increase stability makes sense, but I wouldn't take the Defence focus for that, but a dedicated one ("Supress unrest" or something like that). And I wouldn't switch automatically, especially when changing focus costs IP.
I also first thought of having a dedicated focus - but then I thought that the role is pretty narrow and defense is underused and also in real life the most common way to suppress is by constructing and preparing against a common enemy to unify support for you and to construct a reason to hit hard on dissidents.
Regarding IP switch cost - in my idea switching to defense can not cost anything. The auto-switch is almost necessary if not giving the user a warning ("next turn rebellion here!"), which is the case for some randomness implementations. Else if switching to "Suppress unrest" is the only option anyway, it can be done automated as well.
Vezzra wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:03 pm Regarding the rebel troops the idea is more along the lines that below a certain treshold of stability rebel troops get generated, the more the lower stability is. Once rebel troops get generated, ground combat takes place. As long as there are more regular troops than rebel troops, the rebels get defeated and the colony remains under your control. But once the amount of rebel troops that get generated each turn surpass troop regeneration, the regular troops will begin tu suffer from attrition, and if the situation continues too long, the rebel troops will at some point wipe out the regular troops, and you loose control of the colony.
Troop attrition may be a good thing.
I still dont like this idea. Hard to balance and manage I think (e.g. interaction of troop effects). If there is combat happening every turn you get a sitrep for that?
And how does UI for "the more the lower stability is" work?
Vezzra wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:03 pm You can of course always bring in reinforcements by troop ships.
Meh. Yay for micro?
Vezzra wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:03 pm That mechanic avoids the issues of your suggestion - rebels not vanishing and then having to resort to letting them first take over and then invade to recapture etc. That's unnecessarily clunky and complicated IMO.
It is less micro than troop reinforcements at least. The main idea is still to not let the planet to do a rebellion. Also the revolution and reinvade option seems to be included in your model.
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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#23 Post by Krikkitone »

Here's an idea, for a non hard limit

Influence maintenance is not applied to colonies, but to non influence colonies in an increasing way

The cost of a non influence focused colony=(total# of colonies)

So if colonies produce 100 influence ...

1 colony you need 1% of your empire devoted to maintenance

100 colonies..~50% devoted to maintenance

1000 colonies..~90% devoted to maintenance

billions of colonies ~100 non influence colonies


The downside/loophole is if you can use influence itself to attack/defend so it is unlimited

A better option, to make it a little more stable

cost of colony=this colonies output*total # of colonies/(total # of colonies+this colonies output)

So the useful (non maintenance) output of an influence producing colony=output^2/(# colonies+output)

And the total useful output of an infinitely large empire=(output/world)^2

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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#24 Post by labgnome »

Vezzra wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:43 amFrom what I can see by a quick glance, what's discussed there sounds more like a long-term goal, about what we want in the end. For 0.5 we just need something more simple, that will be extended or even replaced by something more sophisticated/better other later on.

E.g. the whole species-empire, species-species relations and allegiance thing is something I definitely don't want to tackle in 0.5 already. One step at a time... ;)
I was mainly referring to having restrictions and masseuses for low stability and bonuses for high stability, per my last post in the thread.
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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#25 Post by Oberlus »

Vezzra wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:36 pm
"x IP per system an empire has colonies in": I would stick to just "y IP per colony". Otherwise we are encouraging empires to focus on multi-planet systems, which are already the preferred ones (easier to defend from multiple planetary defenses, usually with asteroids or GGs to boost production). And this also hinders stealth distributed empires (that usually focus on getting only the planets good for the high stealth species, like GGs for Sly or swamp/ocean/terran for Laenfa).
IIRC the idea behind this was to encourage exactly that - players focusing on multi-planet systems, and make putting colonies everywhere more costly, so that colonizing as much systems as possible isn't really viable. Of course, if you want such a dynamic very much depends what your personal preferences are. So I can certainly see where you're coming from.
I'm not sure I know where I am coming from, so you could tell me? :lol: :wink:

Multiplanet systems are already the preferred ones. Is some dev not believing that?
With current PP increasing-cost mechanic, that costs you the same for three colonies in three systems than three colonies in one system, multiplanet systems are preferred because of the greater profit you get from them. I fail to see what's the reason to change that with the introduction of influence. Could you elaborate to get me on board?
The best idea would probably to have a policy for that - depending on what the "default" case should be, either a policy that removes the system IP costs in exchange for higher colony IP costs (in that case having system and colony IP costs would be the default), or a policy that reduces colony IP costs, in exchange for now having to also pay IP costs for each system you have colonies in (in that case having IP costs only for colonies would be the default).
Since both mean the same (i.e. you are better off with multiplanet systems, better profit and smaller upkeep), I still struggle to see the benefit from this. It just hinders disconnected empires, encourage the already dominant and most preferred strategy, and solves no gameplay or performance issues.
As far as supply disconnected empires are concerned -> "Origins" would solve that.
I don't think so (see the other thread).

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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#26 Post by LienRag »

labgnome wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:06 am
I was mainly referring to having restrictions and masseuses for low stability and bonuses for high stability, per my last post in the thread.
Masseuses would probably make a population happy indeed, but what genre of Sci-Fi are you trying to emulate in FreeOrion exactly ?

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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#27 Post by labgnome »

LienRag wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:46 pm
labgnome wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:06 am
I was mainly referring to having restrictions and masseuses for low stability and bonuses for high stability, per my last post in the thread.
Masseuses would probably make a population happy indeed, but what genre of Sci-Fi are you trying to emulate in FreeOrion exactly ?
That is supposed to be maluses not masseuses. Stupid spellcheck. :oops:
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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#28 Post by Vezzra »

Ophiuchus wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:48 amGood enough to try out. You mean a planetary effect based on the local IP meter?
Yes.
I also first thought of having a dedicated focus - but then I thought that the role is pretty narrow and defense is underused and also in real life the most common way to suppress is by constructing and preparing against a common enemy to unify support for you and to construct a reason to hit hard on dissidents.
In that case I'd suggest to rename the focus to "Fortification". "Defense" IMO implies the idea of defending against external threats, "Fortification" better covers both - you focus the resources of the colony on maintaining control over it, wether it be against external or internal threats.
Regarding IP switch cost - in my idea switching to defense can not cost anything. The auto-switch is almost necessary if not giving the user a warning ("next turn rebellion here!"), which is the case for some randomness implementations. Else if switching to "Suppress unrest" is the only option anyway, it can be done automated as well.
First, I want to restrict the no-IP-costs for focus switching to the Influence focus. The moment you have two or more focus settings which require no IP costs, players could again try to optimize resource output of colonies in certain settings by micromanaging focus switching.

Second, focus setting is supposed to be an important player decision, these should never happen automatically. There might be situations where the player might not want to switch focus (for whatever reasons), so don't do it for them. If a colony becomes dangerously unstable, give the player proper warnings, and let them decide for themselves how they want to react to the situation.

Which of course implies that switching to "Supress Unrest" must not be the only option in such a scenario, and if it is, it must be considered a design flaw and the mechanic fixed accordingly.
I still dont like this idea. Hard to balance and manage I think (e.g. interaction of troop effects).
Can you elaborate? I don't see particular balance and management issues...?
If there is combat happening every turn you get a sitrep for that?
Yes. The player needs to be noticed if there is a civil war going on on some of their colonies.
And how does UI for "the more the lower stability is" work?
What do you mean? There is no UI dedicated to that mechanic - the rebel troop meter would just be another meter shown, providing a tooltip breaking down the factors contributing to it.
Vezzra wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:03 pm You can of course always bring in reinforcements by troop ships.
Meh. Yay for micro?
Well, bringing in troop ships, but waiting for the planet to rebel first and only then landing them doesn't sound like less micro, unless I missed something.

Of course, coming up with a mechanic that allows you to reinforce ground troops without having to transport them manually by troop ship will most certainly be the better option. But one way or the other, we need to provide means for reinforcments. Having to wait for a colony to rebel and only then land a recapture invasion force is the worst option IMO.
Also the revolution and reinvade option seems to be included in your model.
Well, no need to actively include that option, as with current game mechanics that is already present - once you loose control of a colony (for whatever reason), it becomes a valid target for invasion, like every other colony not under your control.

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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#29 Post by Vezzra »

Krikkitone wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:29 pm Here's an idea, for a non hard limit...
Assuming I understand your suggestion correctly, that would only be a non-hard-cap in the very technical sense of the word. But it would still result in a dynamic where growing an empire beyond a certain size doesn't have any benefits anymore, because although you can grow infinitely, you can never have more than 100 colonies focusing on anything else than Influence.

The "sweet spot" might even be a certain empire size, where the number of non-influence-focused colonies reaches a max, and starts to decline if you grow further.

That is essentially a hard cap.

Anyway, I don't want to design the IP maintenance cost mechanic in a way where your empire has to dedicate the majority of it's colonies to Influence, even with all boni provided by techs, buildings etc. maxed out, to maintain it's colonies. A considerable part, yes, especially large empires should have to dedicate a significant part of their colonies to IP production. But not most of them.

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Re: Influence mechanics brainstorming

#30 Post by Vezzra »

Oberlus wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:08 amMultiplanet systems are already the preferred ones. Is some dev not believing that?
Of course multiplanet systems are preferable, but I don't think that's the point here - at least, as far as I understood the original proposal (back in one of those old threads discussing colony influence maintenance mechanic ideas). Maybe I should mention that I haven't been the one who came up with that idea originally (at least, IIRC...).
With current PP increasing-cost mechanic, that costs you the same for three colonies in three systems than three colonies in one system, multiplanet systems are preferred because of the greater profit you get from them. I fail to see what's the reason to change that with the introduction of influence. Could you elaborate to get me on board?
If I understand the original idea correctly, this wasn't about providing means to make multiplanet systems more preferable than systems where you'd only colonize one planet - as you correctly point out, that's already the case, mulitplanet systems are usually preferable (for obvious reasons).

The idea was to make the "colonize everything" approach not a no-brainer. Currently, although you aim for multiplanet systems early on, eventually you'll start to colonize every system and all planets within you borders, as even lone small planets give some small benefit. Not colonizing everything is usually not a good idea.

Incurring IP costs on a per-system basis would discourage that approach. It would not be optimal anymore to colonize everything. You'd only colonize systems if you can expect a net benefit. And you'd only colonize that single tiny planet in that system that has nothing else if there is a good reason for it (a special on the planet, you need the supply range, it is a strategically important location, it provides a strategic resource of whatever kind...).

Wether we want that or not is another question. I don't want to advocate that idea that strongly, I merely find it interesting. If the majority doesn't want it/doesn't think it's a good idea, I'm fine with that. Just wanted to explain what I think was the idea/reasoning behind the suggestion.
Since both mean the same (i.e. you are better off with multiplanet systems, better profit and smaller upkeep), I still struggle to see the benefit from this.
Depending on your empire's setup, it most certainly will impact you IP costs. Empires pursuing a strategy where they focus on colonizing multiplanet systems and not bothering with colonizing every tiny planet in every nook and cranny of their space can reduce their IP costs by employing the IP-costs-for systems-and-colonies option.

Empires which pursue a strategy focusing on colonizing everything can bring down their IP costs by employing the other option, IP-costs-for-colonies-only.

Depending on what we want to be the default, the price for the other option would be sacrificing a policy slot (which is significant).

And before you ask why anyone would go for the IP-costs-for-colonies-only option: because only then colonizing everything and getting actual benefit from that would only viable with that option. Depending on the specific situation of your empire, that might very well be desirable. If it's the default option, even more so (no need to sacrifice a policy slot).
It just hinders disconnected empires
For reasons already mentioned, with the introduction of colony IP upkeep costs I think we need to do something about that anyway. Whatever that "something" will be in the end, but we need to make supply disconnected empires a more viable option. The current issues will most likely become worse with each new mechanic we add (which will always be tailored to the "default" gameplay options, not the "exotic" ones).

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