Free Orion -- my first look.

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

Moderators: Oberlus, Oberlus

Post Reply
Message
Author
Yakk
Krill Swarm
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:43 pm

Free Orion -- my first look.

#1 Post by Yakk » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:30 pm

Just a brain dump of what happened when I played a few games and read up on a pile of design docs you have in the forum...

Getting a colony ship to colonize is tricky. It took me 2 game restarts to figure out how to work out what planets I can colonize, and how to select the ship (and not just the fleet which contains nothing but my ship).

Colony ships cost so much that I tended to build outposts even on habitable planets.

My first expansion consisted of conquoring AI colonies -- my first colony starved to death when an enemy ship flew between my homeworld and the colony. They where out of supply range.

How to get a world to actually produce supply range is tricky (to make worlds farther away join the trade network, and refuel ships). I'm still not sure how this works, or if it does.

The "increase the rate you gain points in your concentration" technology doesn't seem to work?

When you are reduced to one world, the mining<->production juggle is annoying. You basically need 3 worlds (one with surplus food, one mining, and one producing) before things get sane.

The tech tree is far too broad, even with the filtering tools. In addition, the huge number of theory techs seem to be a cop-out. Might I suggest splitting application/theory a bit stronger:
When you resarch a technology, you get a pseudo-random application. You can research further applications after the fact.

Applications have a dependency tree, but it is soft/backwards. Ie, if PHAZERS require LAZERS, then researching PHAZERS gives you LAZERS for free (alternatively, PHAZERS makes LAZERS obsolete). Your prior knowlege of LAZERS makes it more likely that you'll get PHAZERS when you research the tech that "owns" PHAZERS as an application.

Some applications require two different prequisite technologies. They can show up when you research the 2nd technology, not the first.

Possibly which application you'll get is displayed when you pick the technology, with a random additional application thrown in as a bonus/wild card?

The purpose of this is so that the UI isn't cluttered up with obsolete applications, and that players aren't encouraged to "complete" every application of old technologies. This means that you and another empire will have different applications of the same technologies... I ended up doing a LOT of clicking of queuing up a bunch of "trivial applications" behind some slow-developing theoretical technologies -- it was tech micro.

In fact, one could imagine purchasing applications not using the same RP as theory. Maybe your imperial PP determines what AP you get to buy and when? (ie, you only figure out applications by trying to build things...) Or maybe both PP and RP are turned into AP?

The "you don't get an application from the theory" is annoying in a few ways. First, it means you have to poke around a huge amount of the tree to find out what you actually GET for this research. It clutters up the tree. It reduces the coolness of the theory techs (singularity generation .. which does nothing actually).

The "RPs" and "Turns" model is interesting. Basically it is a cap on how much you can spend on a given tech on a given turn, right?

This helps make "organic" ships feel different, because you have to "grow" them instead of just produce them.

It could also be used to "seed" different races with a starting bias. If one race starts with a few long-duration "seed" techs that others don't? You could imagine multiple "spines" of long-duration techs throughout the tree, which produces a pacing effect on development...

Building Cryo colonies felt questionable -- twice the price for twice the initial population. With colonies growing exponentially...

Supply lines (for fuel and resources) need to have different names, because it is confusing. Might I suggest "trade network" and "supply lines"? (And yes, this means that trading with other races would use the same trade network?)

User avatar
eleazar
Design & Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 3858
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: USA — midwest

Re: Free Orion -- my first look.

#2 Post by eleazar » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:16 pm

Welcome Yakk!

While the game really isn't balanced yet, you aren't the first to complain about colony ships. It was annoying me too, so i revised the cost of the colony modules down to 25% of the former price.
Yakk wrote:My first expansion consisted of conquoring AI colonies -- my first colony starved to death when an enemy ship flew between my homeworld and the colony. They where out of supply range.
Yep that's how it is supposed to work-- expect for the part where colonies die too quickly/easily. If a supply line is cut, food and other resources can't get through. This mechanic will be more fun when you can use it against your enemies -- when they build multi-planet empires.

Yakk
Krill Swarm
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:43 pm

Re: Free Orion -- my first look.

#3 Post by Yakk » Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:24 pm

In a game after the above, I discovered how strong "Incredible Colony Spam" is.

Get orbital food, hab domes, and just cover everywhere in fuel range with research bases.

This is because growth is linear in the number of colonies until the cap: a planet with 1000+ cap only grows at the same rate as a planet with a 5 cap. By building many small-but-reasonable cap cities, you get faster growth by a ridiculously huge margin. (in fact, other than your first few cities, there is little practical difference between a cap of 50 and a cap of 2000, at the time scales you can build ships at)

Things got ridiculous once I picked up auto-factories, which moved me from linear increase in research speed (and quadratic research total output) to exponential production.

FreakNigh
Space Floater
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:08 pm

Re: Free Orion -- my first look.

#4 Post by FreakNigh » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:02 pm

Ya with a few early techs outposts become great mining / research areas especially considering how available they all are. Also since the outpost doubles as a low populate colony that is built super fast there is no real reason to make colonies. All of that I like though...

I think you should start off with the ability to have reasonable and "automatically" maintained defenses on planets though. Maybe the difference between outposts and colonies could be a few important building structures missing? Like an outpost can mine and research but without a certain set of buildings that come with a colony it can't build up a proper defense or other things non mining / research related.

I like that enemy ships can mess you up so bad so fast. However it is wrong that the best strategy is to just go for mining on your first planet to balance your production and mark 1 rush enemies and conquer their already developed planets faster then you could build and colonize your own.

Yakk
Krill Swarm
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:43 pm

Re: Free Orion -- my first look.

#5 Post by Yakk » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:18 pm

That is an interesting idea.

Basic Irrigation: +5/3/1 food (Good/Adequate/Poor)
Basic Factories: +5/4/3/2 production (Huge/Medium/Small/Tiny)
Basic Schools: +5 Research
Basic Infrastructure: +5 Infrastructure

A Colony Ship generates Basic Irrigation, Factories and Schools on a planet with it drops the population off. Building these after the fact is an option.

This means that outposts would start with none of the above, and you'd have to build it remotely (or do without).

Another thought to avoid ICS domination would be to have the rate at which colonies move meters be determined by their infrastructure meter. So a new colony would grow slowly, and have issues using new technology to ramp it up. An old colony would be able to exploit new tech really quickly.

Hmm -- which would mean you could just code full on Colony Ships as dropping off a load of infrastructure, while outposts ... don't. Which lets full on colonies ramp up much, much faster than outposts.

User avatar
eleazar
Design & Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 3858
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: USA — midwest

Re: Free Orion -- my first look.

#6 Post by eleazar » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:56 pm

Our general concept for buildings is quite different than MoO2. In MoO2 there's a whole long list of buildings that you would build on practically every planet if you had the chance. The only bit of strategy to it is the order you build in.

We want to avoid that kind of busy-work: Buildings are more like Civ wonders -- though not necessarily 1 per empire. Anyway buildings should involve some sort of strategy, or choice. They should specialize the planet, or provide benefits for a large region.


I don't know if the engine supports it yet, but my concept to differentiate outposts from colonies is population-- outposts don't have any, so they don't grow, and don't produce resources. They are essentially observation posts, a way to claim a planet you aren't ready to colonize, expand your borders, or to further your supply lines. You can later "colonize" an outpost to make it a real colony. The point is to make the two really distinct, and give outposts a unique use case. Since outposts don't have population it doesn't matter how hostile the planet is.

User avatar
Bigjoe5
Designer and Programmer
Posts: 2058
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:33 pm
Location: Orion

Re: Free Orion -- my first look.

#7 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:05 pm

eleazar wrote:I don't know if the engine supports it yet...
It doesn't - this is also exactly my concept of outposts.
Warning: Antarans in dimensional portal are closer than they appear.

Post Reply