Basic Outposts

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eleazar
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Basic Outposts

#1 Post by eleazar » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:34 pm

I thought it might be nice to have a design topic going that is relatively lite, simple, and less likely to be controversial.

Outposts have been discussed enough under various other subjects, that i think we are pretty close to having the plan down. So rather than try to start from scratch, i'll lay it out as i see it, and we'll see if anybody says, "Yep, that's exactly what i'm thinking."

Outpost are sorta like colonies-- but different. They can be used to extend your empire in certain circumstances when a colony doesn't make sense. I believe outposts should be distinct from colonies. Conceptually they should be more distinct than the, "little colonies" that they are currently in FreeOrion. That implementation is due the current limitations of the engine.
  • Similarities
    * Can create supply lines (both kinds)
    * Provide vision & detection
    * Can be defended and invaded like colonies

    Differences
    * Have no population
    * Produce no resources
    * Are significantly cheaper
    * Can sometimes be built where you can't put a colony (depending on your techs)
    * Can be replaced with a colony (if you would be able to colonize without the outpost)

    Maybe
    * Can be upgraded with outpost specific buildings
    * Can be built in systems where there are no planets?

So: discuss, agree, disagree, propose, etc.

Here's an earlier thread on outposts.

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Krikkitone
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Re: Basic Outposts

#2 Post by Krikkitone » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:17 pm

Yep, basically what I'm thinking.


In favor... another possible distinction. (when we get to diplomacy)
Colonies claim the system (excluding anyone that does not have an outpost or colony there)
Outposts only claim their own planet

So a "friendly" but not allied empire can park their fleet in the system that I have an outpost in, and it is not an act war, or they can colonize an unoutposted planet.



Some other thoughts... Outpost "supply lines" should grow Slower than "colony supply lines"


Also some Specials should give benefits to outposts... ie an outpost on an artifact world generates Research, or an Outpost can return some minerals from a world with easy mineral supply.

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Uziush Vielky
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Re: Basic Outposts

#3 Post by Uziush Vielky » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:30 pm

I agree with the above posts. Totally what I expect form aoutposts. eleazar's "Maybe" section is worth of expanding:

Specific upgrades should make outposts more worthy of building. For example:
- Radar outposts - specialize in detection
- Research outposts - can utilize a special from a planet they're at
- Supply outposts - better supplies then normal/other outposts (could possibly be used to boost trading when it's implemented)

Something that I came up a second ago:
- Defense outposts - heavy armored. Unamanned stations where an AI unit builds up defenses (rockets, mines, lasers) every turn and attacks everything hostile that aproaches the system. A nice surprise to leave behind enemy lines or to guard your borders.

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eleazar
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Re: Basic Outposts

#4 Post by eleazar » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:14 pm

Krikkitone wrote:... Outpost "supply lines" should grow Slower than "colony supply lines"
Since building outposts would be the only non-global way to extend supply lines besides waiting, and i think we really need a way to "build" supply lines between colonies, i wouldn't want to see supply line growth handicapped. At least not without an alternative method of extending supply lines (which may be a good idea, but isn't on topic here.

Uziush Vielky wrote:- Supply outposts - better supplies then normal/other outposts (could possibly be used to boost trading when it's implemented)
Supply (for planets and/or ships) is binary, on or off. Some of my (and other people's) original ideas had various degrees of supply, but that turned out to have a lot of complicated and confusing implications, while adding little.

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Re: Basic Outposts

#5 Post by Uziush Vielky » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:15 pm

eleazar wrote:
Uziush Vielky wrote:- Supply outposts - better supplies then normal/other outposts (could possibly be used to boost trading when it's implemented)
Supply (for planets and/or ships) is binary, on or off. Some of my (and other people's) original ideas had various degrees of supply, but that turned out to have a lot of complicated and confusing implications, while adding little.
OK. So we can scrap the Supply outposts and go with Trade outposts or some other kind instead. My main idea is that outposts could be upgradable to a certain new kind of outpost that gives the player a bonus or other benefit. Or... if you think that upgrades are too much micromanagment there could be an option while building an outpost where you can choose what kind you are building depending what you have reasearched (pretty much like building different kinds of space stations from constructors in GalCiv2). Outposts in MoO2 were pretty much useless and I don't want to see such an obsolete feature in FO.

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Re: Basic Outposts

#6 Post by dalmedya » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:02 pm

Google Dictionary wrote:out·post
noun /ˈoutˌpōst/ 
outposts, plural
1. A small military camp or position at some distance from the main force, used esp. as a guard against surprise attack
2. A remote part of a country or empire
3. Something regarded as an isolated or remote branch of something
- the community is the last outpost of civilization in the far north

in·stal·la·tion
noun /ˌinstəˈlāSHən/ 
installations, plural
1. The action or process of installing someone or something, or of being installed
- the installation of a central air-conditioning system
2. A thing installed, in particular
3. A large piece of equipment installed for use
- computer installations
4. A military or industrial establishment
- nuclear installations
5. An art exhibit constructed within a gallery
- a video installation
Relevant examples underlined.
My opinion:
Keep Outposts as they are.
Automated, unpopulated Installations should not give supply or infrastructure range unless upgraded to do so. Also, Installations should be deployed at the Star, effectively creating a new 'planet', allowing certain constructions to be built there (but never shipyards or any other building that should require personnel to operate).

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Re: Basic Outposts

#7 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:57 pm

eleazar wrote:
  • Similarities
    * Can create supply lines (both kinds)
    * Provide vision & detection
    * Can be defended and invaded like colonies

    Differences
    * Have no population
    * Produce no resources
    * Are significantly cheaper
    * Can sometimes be built where you can't put a colony (depending on your techs)
    * Can be replaced with a colony (if you would be able to colonize without the outpost)

    Maybe
    * Can be upgraded with outpost specific buildings
Yep, that's exactly what I'm thinking. With regard to "outpost-specific buildings", I think the best thing to do is to have buildings that are specific to locations where only an outpost is possible, i.e. gas giant and, in particular, asteroids. It would be weird to upgrade from an outpost to a colony, and suddenly your outpost-specific buildings are gone. Also, outpost-specific projects, such as the existing "remote terraforming", could exist as alternate forms of projects that can occur on regular colonies.
* Can be built in systems where there are no planets?
This part is interesting. I'm going to have to go with "probably not". It sort of defeats the purpose of even having systems without planets, don't you think?
Warning: Antarans in dimensional portal are closer than they appear.

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eleazar
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Re: Basic Outposts

#8 Post by eleazar » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:57 pm

dalmedya wrote:Automated, unpopulated Installations should not give supply or infrastructure range unless upgraded to do so.
To me extending supply networks is one of, if not the main reason for having outposts. Our plan for buildings is to avoid the obvious "build everywhere" type buildings of MoO, and only include buildings whose placement represents an actual strategic decision.

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:
  • Differences
    * Have no population
    * Produce no resources
    * Are significantly cheaper
    * Can sometimes be built where you can't put a colony (depending on your techs)
    * Can be replaced with a colony (if you would be able to colonize without the outpost)
Yep, that's exactly what I'm thinking.
Are you sure?
Your preliminary pseudo-outposts produce resources, most notably asteroid mining.
Bigjoe5 wrote:With regard to "outpost-specific buildings", I think the best thing to do is to have buildings that are specific to locations where only an outpost is possible, i.e. gas giant and, in particular, asteroids. It would be weird to upgrade from an outpost to a colony, and suddenly your outpost-specific buildings are gone. Also, outpost-specific projects, such as the existing "remote terraforming", could exist as alternate forms of projects that can occur on regular colonies.
Sounds good.
Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote: * Can be built in systems where there are no planets?
This part is interesting. I'm going to have to go with "probably not". It sort of defeats the purpose of even having systems without planets, don't you think?
I don't know. It depends on what you think the purpose is.
Geoff's explanation for implementing them was so you can destroy stars. For me their value lies in providing variation in the galaxy map.

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Basic Outposts

#9 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:28 pm

eleazar wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:...systems without planets...
Geoff's explanation for implementing them was so you can destroy stars. For me their value lies in providing variation in the galaxy map.
Did I miss something in the quotes, or are you mixing up systems without stars and systems without planets? FYI, there actually can be planets in systems without stars.

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Re: Basic Outposts

#10 Post by eleazar » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:38 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:...systems without planets...
Geoff's explanation for implementing them was so you can destroy stars. For me their value lies in providing variation in the galaxy map.
Did I miss something in the quotes, or are you mixing up systems without stars and systems without planets? FYI, there actually can be planets in systems without stars.
Yeah, i guess i am conflating the two. Though in practice there is little difference, in many dozens of test galaxies, i've never encountered a planet without a star. Universe generation (which doesn't always work) is very strongly weighted to planet-less-ness for NoStars.

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Re: Basic Outposts

#11 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:57 pm

eleazar wrote:Though in practice there is little difference, in many dozens of test galaxies, i've never encountered a planet without a star.
Presumably you've seen stars with no planets, though, particularly for low planet density?

I guess the only time I recall seeing a planet with no star was when it was a player homeworld, and the planet was created specially for the player, rather than through the usual generation functions.

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Re: Basic Outposts

#12 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:58 pm

eleazar wrote:Are you sure?
Your preliminary pseudo-outposts produce resources, most notably asteroid mining.
Oh yeah. I forgot about/didn't notice that point when I went to post. I think that it makes sense to have stuff like minerals and research being able to be produced at outposts. On the other hand, that sort of motivates the player to outpost-spam the galaxy, so upon further consideration, it probably is best if outposts aren't ordinarily able to produce resources.
eleazar wrote:I don't know. It depends on what you think the purpose is.
I think the purpose is to have some neutral no-man's-land, which acts as another kind of geographical variation when expanding/invading. If you can go in and lay claim to it, then that defeats the purpose of it being there.
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Re: Basic Outposts

#13 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:29 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:I don't know. It depends on what you think the purpose is.
I think the purpose is to have some neutral no-man's-land, which acts as another kind of geographical variation when expanding/invading. If you can go in and lay claim to it, then that defeats the purpose of it being there.
That is part of the motivation for having no star or no planet systems. More variety when exploring is also a motivation.

I also wanted there to be some empty spaces and multiple routes that stealthy ships could take to hide or escape from other ships (not necessarily when invading), and areas for monsters to mill about or events to occur that won't always be occupied by player empires as the game progresses. If there's a planet in every system, then once a player has a few species to work with, they would be able to completely fill space, which is likely to be boring.

Having more empty space also just spreads things out a bit, making having faster ships, and longer fleet supply and resource lines more important and useful.

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Re: Basic Outposts

#14 Post by eleazar » Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:38 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:Are you sure?
Your preliminary pseudo-outposts produce resources, most notably asteroid mining.
Oh yeah. I forgot about/didn't notice that point when I went to post. I think that it makes sense to have stuff like minerals and research being able to be produced at outposts. On the other hand, that sort of motivates the player to outpost-spam the galaxy, so upon further consideration, it probably is best if outposts aren't ordinarily able to produce resources.
Asteroid mines could be tweaked to provide a mining bonus for all (or all mining-focused) planets in the system. Alternatively we could keep them as something you can actually colonize, though with serious disadvantages for planet-dwelling species.
Bigjoe5 wrote:I think the purpose is to have some neutral no-man's-land, which acts as another kind of geographical variation when expanding/invading. If you can go in and lay claim to it, then that defeats the purpose of it being there.
No mans land is often claimed and contested in war. Though it has no value in itself, as a waypoint it can have great value. Minor Pacific islands in WWII are something of a parallel.

I tend to think if outposts can be built in space, it should be a more advanced tech than basic outposts. Also there should be no benefit to building space outposts in a system planets.

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Re: Basic Outposts

#15 Post by Krikkitone » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:08 pm

eleazar wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:... Outpost "supply lines" should grow Slower than "colony supply lines"
Since building outposts would be the only non-global way to extend supply lines besides waiting, and i think we really need a way to "build" supply lines between colonies, i wouldn't want to see supply line growth handicapped. At least not without an alternative method of extending supply lines (which may be a good idea, but isn't on topic here.
If I place a colony, I have to wait X turns to get a supply linkage, If an Outpost gives a Linkage faster then

If you can place an Outpost on a Conlony: Oh I just Colonized a planet, I want a Supply linkage right now...so I'll put an Outpost on as well)..bad
OR
If you can't place an Outpost on a Colony: Oh I just Colonized a planet, I should have put an Outpost there first.. maybe if I give away the planet, and then bomb it out I can get the linkage up faster by recolonizing with an outpost first)..VERY VERY VERY BAD!!!


As for Building Supply line growth between Colonies, how about a Building... that gives a Linkage>1 (2,3,4, etc.) ie it give a +20,40,60 to max AND Current "Construction" meter. It should fit for buildings, you only need one every 6-10 systems or so. (colonies naturally get a Linkage of 1, once they are at 'construction'=20 if you want anything greater, then you Build a "Starport".)

If a colony has to wait then an Outpost should not be faster.

I do Somewhat Like the idea of different Types of Outposts.

Listening Outpost... good Info gathering capability, no supply linkage
Supply Outpost...minimal Info gathering capability, Supply Linkage (takes same time as a colony)
Research/Mining, etc. Outpost...other specific benefits, but no Supply Linkage


And I see no reason to avoid "outpost spamming" that does not also apply to "colony spamming" (colonies require food, but they can be focused on food)

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