Race Techs

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utilae
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Race Techs

#1 Post by utilae »

I've been thinking. There is a problem when you compare two races, for example a machine race, a plant race and a human race. The machine race is advanced in AI, mechanics, electronics and uses 'metal' ships. The plant race is advanced in biology (role chosen at birth, grow ships, natural weapons). They have organic ships, basically flowers in space. The humans are good socially, adaptable and have technology, eg 'metal' ships.

When you compare the tech trees of these races you think, that the plant race is further in the biology field and the machines further in the computer field.

If you were the player, creating the planet or machine race, by choosing certain picks, you would actually be choosing what you have researched in the tech tree. For example, if you made a machine race, you tech tree would reflect that, by having already got some computer tech researched, but not any bio techs.

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The idea? What if there were race techs. When you create your race, some race techs are chosen, some are left to be researched in the game. The machine race would have chosen some race techs such as:
Self Repair, AI, Servo Machanics, Nanites, Metal Ships (construct)
But would not have chosen any of the following race techs:
Regenerate, Natural Weapons, Role At Birth, Organic Ships (grown)
Which the plant race would have.

In this way a races specialisation can be reflected in the tech tree. If your organic you have some organic race techs. But it does not mean you start at the top of the organic tree or have researched alot of techs. You still start at the bottom, you just have a few techs that apply specifically to your races appearance, behaviour and how they do things, what tools they use, etc.

Aquitaine
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#2 Post by Aquitaine »

This came up during the tech tree discussion and was shot down on the grounds that it's a whole lotta extra work. One of those things that might appear post-v1.0.

In the meantime, probably we could just give bonuses to certain categories.
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#3 Post by marhawkman »

Aquitaine wrote:This came up during the tech tree discussion and was shot down on the grounds that it's a whole lotta extra work. One of those things that might appear post-v1.0.

In the meantime, probably we could just give bonuses to certain categories.
Could we simply make this a choice? Like say, forcing the player to choose either cybernetic or bioengineered ships, or a third option that gives them a few elements of each?
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#4 Post by Aquitaine »

It's still extra work. We have to balance the tech tree already - by making branches exclusive, we basically have to duplicate other parts of the tree and spend twice as long balancing everything because the number of permutations and strategic choices you can make is dramatically increased.

Again, I'm not saying this isn't a good idea and wouldn't make for a fun game. We just don't have the resources to do it -- yet. Which is why it was shot down in the first place.
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utilae
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#5 Post by utilae »

This idea, race techs is not about having exclsive branches of the tech tree for specific races.

It's about having one tech tree. 'Race Techs' are littered throughout the tech tree and depending on which if these 'Race Techs' the player has, determines what there race is like.

So when a race is created or chosen, some race techs are chosen automatcally (researched). 'Race Techs' that the players race has not researched are able to be researched, and as a result may change the player race.

For example, if the humans research the 'insect mind' race tech, then the human race will gain a hive mind (assuming this tech is then applied to the race). Similarly the insect race might research 'human eyes' giving them colour vision. These race techs would not be this specific, but apply mainly to things such as whether a race grows organic ships or builds metal ones. Whether they need food or minerals.

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Geoff the Medio
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#6 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Sounds like social and biological engineering. The appropriate tech would unlock a pick which would be mutually exclusive with other such picks, ala SMAC. All techs could still be available to anyone, however.

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#7 Post by Skaro »

I think that there should be 3 main paths:

1. Normal path; standard upgrades and buildings
2. Machine path; cybernetics, AI, nanotech
3. Organic path; grown ships, plant like buildings, regenration bonus

The normal path would be available to all races, we'd later get a option to pick either the organic or machine path later on. Or you could stay on the normal path and unlock some special options.


But some species would be locked with their options like this:
- A robotic race can only pick the machine path, they'll also get a bonus in this area.
- Plant race can only get the organic path for the same reason as mentioned above.
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utilae
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#8 Post by utilae »

@Skaro
I think races should not be locked into paths. A machine race should be able to research organic tech, with a possible end result, eg of grafting organic parts to machine core systems.

Overall I think this can be done without creating a seperate tech tree. All it is is a new type of tech that links into race creation. Depending on race creation, some techs are 'complete' while others are still left to research.

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#9 Post by eleazar »

The simplest way to give different races some uniqueness in technology, is to assign each with 2 or 3 low level techs already researched. This head-start wouldn't drasticly effect ballance, but would make it a little easier to develop tech along "racially appropriate" lines, and give each a little different feel.

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#10 Post by utilae »

I was thinking along those lines.

An example, you would have 'metal' ships and 'organic' ships. Each is level 1. If you make your race a machine race (use 'metal' ships) then that tech is taken. The 'organic' ships tech would be moved up a few levels to simulate the effect of different technology materials not mixing well. Eg in Babylon 5, the humans use 'metal' ships. It would take some hefty researching for them to get 'organic' ships.

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eleazar
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#11 Post by eleazar »

utilae wrote:I was thinking along those lines.
I think you misunderstand me then. I'm not talking about the tech tree changing for any race. Just that each race would get a few low-level techs automatically for free at the beginning of the game. A little head start along a research path that would match the background of the race. The player at any point could choose to research anything anyone else does.

There's no need to "simulate the effect of different technology materials not mixing well." by shuffling the tech tree around— if the tech tree is well done. Technologies will be based on previous techs in a logical progression.

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#12 Post by utilae »

eleazar wrote: I think you misunderstand me then. I'm not talking about the tech tree changing for any race. Just that each race would get a few low-level techs automatically for free at the beginning of the game. A little head start along a research path that would match the background of the race. The player at any point could choose to research anything anyone else does.
I am not misunderstanding you. What you said there in the above quote is what I mean. The player would be able to choose a race pick, which chooses a tech. The player can in this way change what starting race techs the player has. There would not be a tech tree for each race, but one tech tree with a selection of techs linked to race picks.
eleazar wrote: There's no need to "simulate the effect of different technology materials not mixing well." by shuffling the tech tree around— if the tech tree is well done. Technologies will be based on previous techs in a logical progression.
This is the issue I would like to see. Organic/metal/crystal/energy techs. A true to life example would be that we humans are so used to building 'metal' ships and know nothing about building organic ships, so for us to build an organic ship would take a long time (research wise or construction wise).

If both 'metal' ships and 'organic' ships are level 1 tech, then the player can quite easily have both ship types easily. I want it to be possible to have both types of ships, but for it to be a little bit more difficult. If the humans (metal ships) got their hands on an enemy 'organic' ship, then they can't easily steal tech or reverse engineer it. But they can possible hack and force their way into having the means, only it takes ages to build or the tech is available but takes longer to research.

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#13 Post by Daveybaby »

On its own, this probably wouldnt be enough to distinguish the races w.r.t. research. The Civ games pretty much do exactly the same thing, yet after the first few turns everyone's tech tree is the same as everyone else's.

So in addition to this you could also give different races a natural aptitude for certain techs, i.e. make those techs cheaper to research for that race. This would encourage some diversification in racial research preferences beyond the early stages of the game.

e.g. Give cybernetic races a bonus when researching computer related techs. Give insectoid races a bonus when researching social techs. Give crystalline races a bonus when researching mining techs. Give doglike races a bonus when researching... um... tail... wagging... techs. Yeah. Okay, so it might be difficult to come up with good examples for all species, but i think its worth considering.

Another possibility is that you have the same tech tree for all species, but that some techs have different effects for certain species. For example, improved industrial techs could lead to increased population growth for cybernetic races (whereas improved farming techs wouldn't make any difference). Similarly improved mining or refining techs might allow increased population growth for crystalline species, and allow greater maximum population for subterranean species.
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#14 Post by Geoff the Medio »

The FO tech system has a few advantages that Civ's doesn't... In particular, we have both cost and minimum time to research, while Civ has just cost (and arguably a fairly low fixed minimum research time in some cases). So, by making the starting bonus techs available to all, but take a long time to research if you don't start with them, then a significant barrier to entry to other tech groups can be established, even for research-heavy empires (which produce many RP, but still take 40 turns to research a 40 turn tech).

I think the comparison isn't that relevant though, as Civ didn't intend to create long-term distinctions between the different civs. Had such been intended, it could have been achived within the Civ tech system by having the starting techs be a several-techs-deep tree, with various semi-redundant trees to choose from, etc. such that there's little reason to get all other civ's starting techs in addition to your own, and doing so would be relatively expensive and time consuming...

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#15 Post by eleazar »

Geoff the Medio wrote:I think the comparison isn't that relevant though, as Civ didn't intend to create long-term distinctions between the different civs. Had such been intended, it could have been achived within the Civ tech system by having the starting techs be a several-techs-deep tree, with various semi-redundant trees to choose from, etc. such that there's little reason to get all other civ's starting techs in addition to your own, and doing so would be relatively expensive and time consuming...
Civ in general (haven't played them all) was definitely not intended to allow a large diversity in how players explore the tech tree, just variation in the speed. Civ has a small number of initial techs, and techs are intricately interconnected. If you want a particular mid-game or end-game tech, you have to have previously researched the vast majority of previous techs.
FO seems to be set up quite differently, which most later techs only requiring a fraction of lesser techs as prerequisites. I like this approach as it gives your reseach choices much more strategic value.

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