Stockpiles

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Bigjoe5
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Re: Newbie: First Play (v0.3.15) and First Thoughts

#31 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:01 am

eleazar wrote: :arrow: Without stockpiles trade treaties suddenly become simple and obvious. For example: "I will give you my excess food for your excess minerals." Trade treaties are generally the only way to avoid waste (aside from perfectly calibrating your economic machine). If we want to make it fancier, we could add an exchange ratio, i.e. 1 food for every 2 minerals. There's no accidental breaking of this kind of treaty, and the terms of simple.
I don't think that's a good thing, in this case. One of the great advantages to having a stockpile, IMO, is the ability to create more complex treaties involving the direct transfer of stockpileable resources. This does not imply having complex diplomatic rules, which is generally bad, but rather allowing the player the freedom to do complex things with a set of relatively simple rules, which is generally good.
eleazar wrote:To address this problem, I think if we get rid of stockpiles, the need for more fine-grained focus settings increases.
In the early game a pure focus on minerals or production doesn't make sense. Perhaps those are things you can research to learn. But an "Industrial" focus -- equal emphasis on minerals AND production -- would be of use sooner.
This is probably a good idea regardless of whether or not stockpiles are removed.
jlv61560 wrote:Honestly, getting rid of the stockpiles just makes sense. The problem with stockpiles is that unless they are restricted to the planet that produces them (only) you are faced with the need for distributing them. The problem with that is that there is no simple, intuitive way to handle that and the result is that players are forced into intensive micromanagement of a "merchant shipping chain" of some kind.
While "letting the computer do it" is by no means a be-all-end-all solution to these types of problems, I think it's appropriate in this case; what happens to the stockpiles, while time consuming for a human being to to in a board game, is not at all complex or difficult to understand, so it's not like the MoO3 colony managers, controlling things because the rules are too complex for mere humans to understand.
MikkoM wrote: And could eliminating the stockpile lead to focus setting micromanagement, since any food and minerals that aren`t used in the empire would go to waste?
IIRC, this was one of the big reasons for having stockpiled resources in the first place, and I still agree with it.
eleazar wrote:
MikkoM wrote:Would eliminating the stockpile make the economy system even more inflexible, since if for example important mining or farming systems are lost and the empire`s food or mineral production drops below the empire`s need for these resources, the whole economy will suffer significantly until the player/AI made focus changes can help the situation as there are no buffers to soften the blow?
Sure, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It simply make high producing resource worlds more strategically important to defend, or capture.
I generally dislike the "harshness" that implies. IMO, such worlds are sufficiently important as it is, and don't need to be turned into their own effective victory conditions.
Krikkitone wrote:For #4
Excess food could increase Health... possibly improving growth.
That's the way it used to be isn't it? But it was ditched for simplicity's sake. I don't think there's any need for that, and I think the simplicity of stockpiles is superior.
eleazar wrote:Or more boldly, we simply get rid of "minerals" as a distinct resource.
Having minerals though, adds more variety between playing as a highly industrial empire, or a different kind of empire. Expansion for such empires will be a different experience, as their main focus will be split equally between two resources. In contrast, an empire focused on diplomacy, research or espionage, would primarily be focused on finding planets that are as close as possible to one specific ideal.

Changing the gameplay experience in such a way is one of the things that keeps the game from getting stale. This is why there are now different rules for the production of minerals as opposed to other resources - more variety, forcing the player to consider different strategies for expansion and production when he chooses a different playing style.

Having minerals is also a more interesting way to keep super-industry zerg-swarm strategies from becoming ultimate than simply gimping the production of industry or increasing build costs. It also allows strategic options for industrial players to also focus on diplomacy, getting their minerals from other empires and focusing on production themselves. This in turn opens up strategies for the players who supply these minerals, to try to create dependence on themselves, then using that to their advantage.
Geoff the Medio wrote:Are there any obvious / major problems that having no stockpiles at all would cause?
Why do we have stockpiles in the first place? Removing them would get rid of all of those things, whatever they may be.

First of all, micromanagement of resources. It shouldn't be necessary, but eliminating stockpiles will make players feel the need to fully optimize resource production; and I'd much rather not use the MoO2 cop-out of turning excess resources into money at a fixed rate. That's just lame.

Secondly, trading stockpiled resources. I've already made reference to the potential strategy that arises from being able to trade resources directly with another empire. True, much of this is possible simply by "trading x per turn", but this doesn't allow the trading empire a buffer to keep trading if something happens to their resource production, or even if one of their high-producing worlds was blockaded. I'm afraid that this would make such a strategy too difficult to use. One of the things I disliked about MoO2 was that many, many strategies were so vulnerable to your opponent's whims that they were hardly viable. I'd like to increase the number of viable strategies in FO as much as possible.

What compelling reason is there for getting rid of stockpiles aside from "simplifying the UI and eliminating numerous details and complications with tracking the gamestate?"
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Re: Newbie: First Play (v0.3.15) and First Thoughts

#32 Post by eleazar » Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:17 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote: :arrow: Without stockpiles trade treaties suddenly become simple and obvious. For example: "I will give you my excess food for your excess minerals." ...
I don't think that's a good thing, in this case. One of the great advantages to having a stockpile, IMO, is the ability to create more complex treaties involving the direct transfer of stockpileable resources. This does not imply having complex diplomatic rules, which is generally bad, but rather allowing the player the freedom to do complex things with a set of relatively simple rules, which is generally good.
Even assuming that "the ability to create more complex treaties" was desirable, there are a myriad of ways this could be done without retaining mechanics that are not otherwise needed.

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:Or more boldly, we simply get rid of "minerals" as a distinct resource.
Having minerals though, adds more variety between playing as a highly industrial empire, or a different kind of empire. Expansion for such empires will be a different experience, as their main focus will be split equally between two resources
A very slightly different experience, since after all most decent sized empires will have some planets set on most or all of the foci. Having the majority of your planets divided between 2 foci seems a rather weak kind of novelty.
Bigjoe5 wrote:Changing the gameplay experience in such a way is one of the things that keeps the game from getting stale. This is why there are now different rules for the production of minerals as opposed to other resources - more variety, forcing the player to consider different strategies...
If that's a significant part of FO's strategic variety, the game stinks.
Bigjoe5 wrote:It also allows strategic options for industrial players to also focus on diplomacy, getting their minerals from other empires and focusing on production themselves.
The essence of what you are describing here is interdependence. For instance production could be traded for food. This kind of strategy is not dependent on the existence of minerals.

Bigjoe5 wrote:One of the things I disliked about MoO2 was that many, many strategies were so vulnerable to your opponent's whims that they were hardly viable. I'd like to increase the number of viable strategies in FO as much as possible.
That's really a result of carefully tuning and balancing -- not the multiplication of features.

Bigjoe5 wrote:What compelling reason is there for getting rid of stockpiles aside from "simplifying the UI and eliminating numerous details and complications with tracking the gamestate?"
What else do you need?
We'd need a compelling reason not to simplify the UI, and eliminate complications.

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Re: Newbie: First Play (v0.3.15) and First Thoughts

#33 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:03 am

eleazar wrote:Even assuming that "the ability to create more complex treaties" was desirable, there are a myriad of ways this could be done without retaining mechanics that are not otherwise needed.
The ability to trade stockpiled resources is not possible if resources are not stockpileable. I've always looked forward to the ability to trade stockpiled resources because I think it's an interesting addition to the game, and hence a good reason to have stockpiles.

eleazar wrote:A very slightly different experience, since after all most decent sized empires will have some planets set on most or all of the foci. Having the majority of your planets divided between 2 foci seems a rather weak kind of novelty.
Regardless, it's better than nothing. The more variety the better.
eleazar wrote:If that's a significant part of FO's strategic variety, the game stinks.
That's beside the point. The more the better. Requiring a stockpileable resource plus a non-stockpileable resource to create production is a very simple rule, but one that invites a lot more variety than MoO2's "Industry is production, and mineral rich planets get an industry bonus."
eleazar wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:What compelling reason is there for getting rid of stockpiles aside from "simplifying the UI and eliminating numerous details and complications with tracking the gamestate?"
What else do you need?
We'd need a compelling reason not to simplify the UI, and eliminate complications.
We have one. It's the reason stockpiles were introduced in the first place. Having stockpiles prevents players from having to micromanage their resource production for optimal output. This is also aside from any strategic interest that stockpiles might offer. I don't think it's particularly realistic to say that stockpiles significantly complicate the UI, or gameplay itself.
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Re: Newbie: First Play (v0.3.15) and First Thoughts

#34 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:14 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:Having stockpiles prevents players from having to micromanage their resource production for optimal output.
This sounds good, but there are many situations in which stockpiles wouldn't actually work that way. In particular, any systems not connected to the stockpile system would have no stockpile available, and would need to be (micro)managed regardless of whether there exists a stockpile somewhere else. Unconnected systems are not / may not be an unusual occurance, due to blockades or systems being remote or too far apart.

Also, even if all resources went into a stockpile, presumably there would still be some motivation to micromanage to optimize the output amounts. It has been argued that anything stockpiled and not used immediately is not being used to full effectiveness, which is basically the same situation as if there are no stockpiled (though somewhat less so).
I've always looked forward to the ability to trade stockpiled resources because I think it's an interesting addition to the game, and hence a good reason to have stockpiles.
Why is it necessary to trade stockpiled resources, rather than having an ongoing trade agreement to transfer X resources per turn?

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Re: Newbie: First Play (v0.3.15) and First Thoughts

#35 Post by eleazar » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:43 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:I've always looked forward to the ability to trade stockpiled resources because I think it's an interesting addition to the game, and hence a good reason to have stockpiles.
Why is it necessary to trade stockpiled resources, rather than having an ongoing trade agreement to transfer X resources per turn?
I concede a trade agreement (to transfer X resources per turn) isn't useful in every situation a lump-sum resource trade would be. For instance trading a planet for resources to be delivered in the future is a gamble -- the empire may not exist long enough to finish delivery, but a planet's ownership is all or nothing.

Using stockpiled resources essentially as "money" is used in other 4X games, indeed sounds interesting, but i expect it would be a pain. That would be 2 (or three if production is tradable) more resources that do exactly the same thing as money. The novelty of paying with food or minerals will pale quickly when for each transaction you have to figure out which resource or combination of resources to pay with or accept in payment.


Would shopping be more fun if you could pay with Yen, Dollars and/or Euros, and every store (empire) valued each differently? Even if you think you would enjoy that you can't deny it would be notably more complicated.

I think there may be a place for one stockpile-able resource: trade. It lacks the main problems of stockpiling as it is intangible, and thus immune to blockades. But Geoff wants to leave the trade until a later point, so i raise this as a possibility.

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Re: Stockpiles

#36 Post by RonaldX » Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:07 am

I want to make sure I understand this... Are you referring to "stockpiles" in general, as in whether or not you should be able to accumulate resources beyond a single turn's production whatsoever? Or are you referring to having individual planetary stockpiles?

My personal preference is for an empire-wide stockpile that is abstracted out, perhaps a percentage of all stockpiled resources change hands when you take a planet from, or lose a planet to, another empire. A blockaded planet would not have access to the empire-wide stockpile and would have to draw only from it's own production.

The real trouble is that you havn't fleshed out how you want trade to work. If you can stockpile one resource, you should be able to trade it for any other resource. If there are X kinds of minerals and you needed Y of them to build certain buildings or ship components, but your empire only produces Y-2 kinds, you'd have to trade for those other two mineral types. When there is only one type of mineral, then the only reason you would ever need to trade them is if you had an empire with lots of mineral-rich planets but maybe poor agricultural planets, so you trade minerals for food.

I might be missing the point entirely here though.

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Re: Stockpiles

#37 Post by eleazar » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:45 pm

RonaldX wrote:I want to make sure I understand this... Are you referring to "stockpiles" in general, as in whether or not you should be able to accumulate resources beyond a single turn's production whatsoever?
Yes.

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Re: Newbie: First Play (v0.3.15) and First Thoughts

#38 Post by Krikkitone » Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:32 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:Having stockpiles prevents players from having to micromanage their resource production for optimal output.
This sounds good, but there are many situations in which stockpiles wouldn't actually work that way. In particular, any systems not connected to the stockpile system would have no stockpile available, and would need to be (micro)managed regardless of whether there exists a stockpile somewhere else. Unconnected systems are not / may not be an unusual occurance, due to blockades or systems being remote or too far apart.

Also, even if all resources went into a stockpile, presumably there would still be some motivation to micromanage to optimize the output amounts. It has been argued that anything stockpiled and not used immediately is not being used to full effectiveness, which is basically the same situation as if there are no stockpiled (though somewhat less so).
Stockpiles do Significantly reduce that need though
Geoff the Medio wrote:
I've always looked forward to the ability to trade stockpiled resources because I think it's an interesting addition to the game, and hence a good reason to have stockpiles.
Why is it necessary to trade stockpiled resources, rather than having an ongoing trade agreement to transfer X resources per turn?
It does make it easier to value
30 minerals for 10 turns =/= 300 minerals
300 minerals is definite
30 minerals for 10 turns is variable...the empire delivering may be destroyed.

As for the UI and blockade complications.

Imagine empire
A(capital).....B....C....D
each planet produces 5 food

If the B to C connection is cut... how do you display food output?
the "empire" produces 20 food.. but there is only 10 food available in the capital. (stockpile location)
How do you check on the situation in C+D... (How do I know if food consumption there is equal to production?)

Since there is a need in the UI for multiple "production" and "consumption" stats (anytime a world is blockaded/cut off.) It seems as though stockiles should be that way as well. (ie stockpiles, production and consumption are all planetary, but when connected they share everything)

The issue is a simple way to determine the distribution of the stockpiles.

The simplest is to have one stockpile world, but then there is the issue of Which is the stockpile world in the case of a "blockade".
If there is NO stockpile world, then "blockades", and even potential "blockades" create complicated micromanagement.
If each world has a stockpile, then the amount of the stockpile should be easily determined. (perhaps proportional to population?)

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Re: Newbie: First Play (v0.3.15) and First Thoughts

#39 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:04 am

Krikkitone wrote:[Stockpiles] make it easier to value
30 minerals for 10 turns =/= 300 minerals
300 minerals is definite
30 minerals for 10 turns is variable...the empire delivering may be destroyed.
I suppose, but to be picky, "300 minerals" may be definite, but the value of that value isn't necessarily; there are lots of possible "if"s or "may"s... Maybe the place you were planning to spend the minerals will be captured or disconnected from those minerals. Maybe you suddenly get a separate windfall of minerals and don't need the ones you traded for...
Since there is a need in the UI for multiple "production" and "consumption" stats (anytime a world is blockaded/cut off.) It seems as though stockiles should be that way as well. (ie stockpiles, production and consumption are all planetary, but when connected they share everything)
As you note later, stockpiles make this more complicated, because in the case of blockades or other cases of planets being separated from others they were previously connected to, there's need to allocate the group's stockpile to the separate new groups. With just output, the new smaller groups' outputs are just whatever their planets generate, and no extra decision needs to be made about how to do the separation.
If each world has a stockpile, then the amount of the stockpile should be easily determined. (perhaps proportional to population?)
If it's proportional to population, then that would give players motivation to depopulate planets that may soon be captured, just so that their stockpiles will be automatically shipped to other planets. Likely any other "simple" rule will have similar odd results or motivations for micromanging things.

If we do have stockpiles, it would be easiest if they were restricted to non-tangibles, as eleazar has suggested, such as trade, which isn't stockpiled at any particular location.

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Re: Stockpiles

#40 Post by MGyver » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:56 am

If it's proportional to population, then that would give players motivation to depopulate planets that may soon be captured, just so that their stockpiles will be automatically shipped to other planets. Likely any other "simple" rule will have similar odd results or motivations for micromanging things.
Wouldn't it make sense to depopulate a world that faces immanent capture, along with the resources that the population has collected? It doesn't have to be an easy task, and it shouldn't be a simple or quick thing to move a billion people off-world! While it is definitely a strategic X-factor, I think that linking population and food stockpiles makes sense. My money is, broadly speaking, still on single-planet or single-system stockpiles of food.

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Re: Stockpiles

#41 Post by Krikkitone » Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:21 am

I think the biggest issue stockpiles save use from is the turn-by-turn micromanagement due to a "wall" that is unique to Food and Minerals

If you have more Industry than you are currently capable of using you can always build more ships

The tech tree could limit Research, but I would hope it would be designed with an ability to go much faster than is normally effective.

..We don't know what we are doing with trade yet.


The problem is both Food and Minerals are based on relatively inflexible demands... you need as much as possible per turn up to X amount and any excess is totally useless.
Stockpiles solve this problem.
And if there are going to be blockades+stockpiles I think we do need to basically have single planet stockpiles (maybe single system)

However, an additional solution could be the ability to Use excess food or minerals.

For Minerals... I think if we do Not make them stockpilable, then combining Minerals+Industry into one resource may be the best idea.
For Food... perhaps excess food per pop can increase maximum population? (ie +1% planetary max population for every 0.01 excess food produced/population?)

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Re: Stockpiles

#42 Post by eleazar » Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:15 am

Krikkitone wrote:I think the biggest issue stockpiles save use from is the turn-by-turn micromanagement due to a "wall" that is unique to Food and Minerals
I agree if we wouldn't change anything else food and minerals have unique problems without stockpiles. But i'm not so sure micromanagement would result-- the focus system is not easy to micromanagement. Though thwarted micromanagement might cause frustration.
Krikkitone wrote:The problem is both Food and Minerals are based on relatively inflexible demands... you need as much as possible per turn up to X amount and any excess is totally useless.
Stockpiles solve this problem.
But stockpiles are not the only way to solve this problem. Without stockpiles it could work just as well like this:

Food
A relatively modest amount of food should be required to keep Health just high enough to keep people from starving --but with zero growth. But a rather high amount of food should be required to raise health to it's maximum, and thus cause the max population growth. In most cases your food supply would be somewhere between one of these extremes so normal fluctuations don't cause disaster or waste.

Minerals
As earlier suggested Minerals and Industry could be combined into a single resource. Since it is easy to put more in your building queue than your have resources to build. Thus you only waste unified minerals/industry if you let your building queue go empty.

Science is not blockade-able, so with the above there is no problem with loosing stockpiles.

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Re: Stockpiles

#43 Post by Krikkitone » Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:11 pm

eleazar wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:I think the biggest issue stockpiles save use from is the turn-by-turn micromanagement due to a "wall" that is unique to Food and Minerals
I agree if we wouldn't change anything else food and minerals have unique problems without stockpiles. But i'm not so sure micromanagement would result-- the focus system is not easy to micromanagement. Though thwarted micromanagement might cause frustration.
Krikkitone wrote:The problem is both Food and Minerals are based on relatively inflexible demands... you need as much as possible per turn up to X amount and any excess is totally useless.
Stockpiles solve this problem.
But stockpiles are not the only way to solve this problem. Without stockpiles it could work just as well like this:

Food
A relatively modest amount of food should be required to keep Health just high enough to keep people from starving --but with zero growth. But a rather high amount of food should be required to raise health to it's maximum, and thus cause the max population growth. In most cases your food supply would be somewhere between one of these extremes so normal fluctuations don't cause disaster or waste.

Minerals
As earlier suggested Minerals and Industry could be combined into a single resource. Since it is easy to put more in your building queue than your have resources to build. Thus you only waste unified minerals/industry if you let your building queue go empty.

Science is not blockade-able, so with the above there is no problem with loosing stockpiles.

With Food->Growth you have the problem of max populations. Excess growth is useless on a world at max population.
Options:
Excess Health Also increases max population
Excess health on a max population world give some happiness/extra allegiance (although that is its own can of worms)

A slightly different option is to use the civ model... Excess food is used to "build" population.

So option wise:
Stockpiles-
--singular (becomes equivalent to no stockpile if blockaded)
--single planet
--(one per fragment... stockpile is located on the highest pop world if not connected to the capital?)

Food not Stockpiled
-Lost (thwarted micromanagement)
-Excess -> Growth rate [what about max pop situations]
-Excess->Growth rate OR "happiness" (maybe but requires happiness model)
-Excess food->Growth rate AND Max Pop (through the intermediary of health?... eliminate the idea of max pop?)

Minerals not Stockpiled
-Lost (thwarted micromanagement)
-Eliminate minerals


I'm not quite sure which way I think Minerals should go: either eliminate them or possibly move it to a one stockpile per fragment...largest population world OR the capital.

And make food a way of increasing Growth Rate AND maximum population.
Sample
Growth Rate= Base Growth Rate * (Health-20)

Health= Environment Base (20 to 0 depending on environment) - 20*(Pop/Planet Size)term + 5*Food/Pop +min (15*Food/pop, 15)
... ie a population that is fed at the minimum of 1 food/pop gets 20 Health... at a pop/Size that depends on the environment.

(so you wouldn't actually have a "Max population"... just a highest possible level of population/planet size.... you could increase that by putting a greater fraction of population into food, but that means less of that population is "useful", ie industry, trade, science)

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Re: Stockpiles

#44 Post by mrSpaceman » Fri Apr 29, 2011 11:19 pm

This is my first post - hopefully I can put a new spin on this discussion with my fresh perspective. I am going to try to keep to the point (though I've got lots to say). :D

To address the topic of the thread: subjectively, I don't think stockpiling is necessary or a particularly attractive proposition. The excesses of planetary resource gathering (here on 'excess') can be used in other ways, which keep to the ideas which are already included in the game: money, research, productivity, ... Someone has already said in this thread (excuse my not quoting) that MOO2 had a very unsatisfying linear-conversion-to-money for excess. Well, you can probably make a nicer algorithm for the task of conversion of excess then. :!:

The algorithm could include factors such as maturity & choice of economy (tech research level & government choice), special buildings present at the planet of excess and inter-empire trade arrangements affecting that planet. These factors would reflect ideas like trading the resource on planetary stock markets (or equivalent) and other things and the general move from physical things to abstract monetary things. You could get creative with the reasons for the conversion and the benefits. Make players want to improve their economy-based tech, build that building, etc. You could make it really harsh if your empire has no relevant economic sense and they could just lose their excess. :twisted:

However, I do vote for excess affecting growth positively :mrgreen: . Even empires who are silly with their money can benefit from this (despite then throwing the excess away).

Excess food gives you health and population: that's OK. So, do excess minerals give you a little productivity boost of some kind? I think there is definitely something a little weird about the mineral, industry, production chain... (I think that a different topic though, is it? :roll: )

---

PS., Thanks for reading my first post! :D

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