Removing Minerals?

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Bigjoe5
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Removing Minerals?

#1 Post by Bigjoe5 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:03 pm

It seems like we've more or less come to an agreement that Minerals and Industry can be rolled into something called "Production". As far as I can tell, the only major issue that needs to be resolved before this is done is whether or not Production should be stockpileable.

If there's a great need to have at least one stockpiled resource, I'd prefer it be Trade/Influence, since its not supply-range limited.
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Removing Minerals?

#2 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:44 pm

The main objection to removing minerals and mining has been that there won't be enough different things for planets to do. For this, I've suggested having resources require a particular focus to be set. Assuming that resolves the objection, then removing minerals and renaming (non-stockpilable) industry to production should be fine. As noted, any distribution-limited resource (ie. production) shouldn't be stockpilable, IMO.

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Re: Removing Minerals?

#3 Post by eleazar » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:45 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:It seems like we've more or less come to an agreement that Minerals and Industry can be rolled into something called "Production".
I wouldn't go quite that far. I'm leaning that way, but i'm not sure everything has been thought through. My main beef with the current system is that there is no way to tell if industry focus is being wasted by a lack of minerals. Though this is an interface problem, even if it was solved, the "leave it alone" focus system doesn't lend itself to being tweaked to matching available minerals anyway.

Secondarily there is no legitimate strategic choice between minerals or industry. Either is pointless without the other, though perhaps "pointless" is a bit too strong for minerals, since they can be saved and used later, but still it is always more optimal to produce something you can use now.

Also combining minerals and production will prevent the silly situation that exists now where an isolated planet which can produce either minerals or industry, can't do anything with them, since it can't produce both at once.

I do agree the number of possible foci available to most planets should be more than 3.

Bigjoe5 wrote:As far as I can tell, the only major issue that needs to be resolved before this is done is whether or not Production should be stockpileable.

If there's a great need to have at least one stockpiled resource, I'd prefer it be Trade/Influence, since its not supply-range limited.
I'm sick, so forgive me for not addressing all the points already made on the subject in other threads. I'll limit myself to making some points i haven't yet clearly made, since i feel capable of doing that much.

Research is not stockpile-able, but that's fine since you can enqueue any possible tech. There would never be an advantage in waiting saving RP (if you could) and then allocating them later.

Production is different. And this goes double for a unified Mining&Industry. The options you can put production toward vary greatly with your research, expansion, and control of supply lanes. If your major need is a more ships, and in 5 turns you will have researched a major improvement in weaponry and shields, you can't put PP into it now. Without a stockpile, you gotta continue spending it on things you don't especially want, or let it go totally to waste. Not only would this be annoying to the player, but would tend to clutter up gameplay by leading to the production of "extra" buildings and ships that the player doesn't want, but would rather have than "nothing".
A stockpiled PP could be used more purposefully and cleanly. You don't need to constantly add items to the queue to avoid waste -- which i actually have found annoying in test games, when industry outpaces technology.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:...such as questions like "where is the stockpile?" for which there is no good answer yet proposed.
I though "At the imperial capitol" answered the question simply and well.
It doesn't, because anywhere not resource-connected to the capitol will have no stockpile. This is bad because it makes the stockpile work differently at different locations. It's also just ... "clunky" ... for lack of a better term; things are partly set up to use stockpiles, but seemingly arbitrarily only a single place (per empire) can actually have one. The system is sort of designed around everywhere having a stockpile (partly due to the single empire production queue) which suggests that each system or connected set of systems should have access to a stockpile. But, it was decided that would be too complicated to keep track of and that there would be issues with how to distribute the stockpile in case of breaks in connectivity, so just one location was allowed. It all doesn't really work together as a game system.
I don't consider a binary stockpile works / doesn't work a bad kind of different. It is easy to remember and understand. We should have a UI indicator for items in the production queue that are cut off from production (for any reason other than earlier items in the queue took it all-- but this is useful with or without stockpiles).

I think your negative perception of stockpiling is too heavily influenced by past plans and/or your knowledge of the underlying code. Game mechanics are not supposed to be appreciated for their beauty anyway.

A single stockpile works, and is easy to understand. A single stockpile is an arbitrary limitation, but that's a realism complaint. Good game designs are generally full of arbitrary limitations. I see nothing to dislike.

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Re: Removing Minerals?

#4 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:54 pm

eleazar wrote:Without a [production] stockpile, you gotta continue spending it on things you don't especially want, or let it go totally to waste. Not only would this be annoying to the player, but would tend to clutter up gameplay by leading to the production of "extra" buildings and ships that the player doesn't want, but would rather have than "nothing".
A stockpiled PP could be used more purposefully and cleanly. You don't need to constantly add items to the queue to avoid waste -- which i actually have found annoying in test games, when industry outpaces technology.
There are solutions to this issue better than the current form of the production stockpile. Civ games let cities divert unneeded production into generating wealth. MOO had the planetary reserve, which was a stockpile without the location restrictions, but which was much less efficient that spending production at the location it was generated. IMO either of those mechanisms are better than the position-dependent stockpile access that FO has now.
A single stockpile works, and is easy to understand. A single stockpile is an arbitrary limitation, but that's a realism complaint. Good game designs are generally full of arbitrary limitations. I see nothing to dislike.
Designs have limitations, but they shouldn't generally be arbitrary. And even if there are sometimes arbitrary limitations, I can't agree / accept that there's *nothing* to dislike about the single-stockpile system.

My objection is party that it doesn't seem to make intuitive sense, which is a realism-based player perception point, but an important one that does affect playability. If there was a set of content that provided stockpiles only at one location, and other content the player could unlock to provide stockpiles everywhere, that'd be fine... perhaps good. I like systems where progressing through the game allows players to break or bend the previous rules that limited them. But in this case, there no opportunity to break/bend/advance, and no obvious sensible reason why stockpiles would exist at one location (or even be unlocked by content at one location) and not be unlockable at others. I would expect players' reaction to be confusion or frustration at the arbitrary rule, rather than excitement at the fulfillment of the desire to overcome their initial limitations.

Both of the alternatives suggested above (divert to something else like "wealth", or the positionally-unrestricted production reserve) could be made unlockable.

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Re: Removing Minerals?

#5 Post by eleazar » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:01 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:There are solutions to this issue better than the current form of the production stockpile. Civ games let cities divert unneeded production into generating wealth.
Yeah, but we're probably going to have influence instead of trade. ** (see the bottom of this post) Having excess production produce social influence does not make the game more obvious or intuitive.
Geoff the Medio wrote:MOO had the planetary reserve, which was a stockpile without the location restrictions, but which was much less efficient that spending production at the location it was generated. IMO either of those mechanisms are better than the position-dependent stockpile access that FO has now.
So industrial materials have a very short shelf-life, after which they transmogrify into something that's less efficient, but has an infinite shelf life and can jump blockades. This does not sound simpler nor more intuitive.

Geoff the Medio wrote:My objection is party that it doesn't seem to make intuitive sense, which is a realism-based player perception point, but an important one that does affect playability.
Yeah, but consider the non-intuitive nature of your alternatives. Industrial materials are not expected to have a 1 turn expiration date.

Geoff the Medio wrote:If there was a set of content that provided stockpiles only at one location, and other content the player could unlock to provide stockpiles everywhere, that'd be fine... perhaps good. I like systems where progressing through the game allows players to break or bend the previous rules that limited them. But in this case, there no opportunity to break/bend/advance.... rather than excitement at the fulfillment of the desire to overcome their initial limitations..
Except in previous discussion i though we've abundantly established that stockpiles everywhere would be an interface nightmare for the player.

From a game design standpoint i agree that it is good when "progressing through the game allows players to break or bend the previous rules that limited them." -- though i don't expect every rule to fall in this category. Though i would generalize it a bit more. What's fun it exceeding/breaking your previous limitations. The limitation doesn't necessarily need to be a rule.

However, a single stockpile setup can fall into this pattern.
* When you start you have a few system you can share resources with, and it is easy to expand your colonies beyond resource range. By building colonies, researching techs, and defending choke points you can build a much larger resource-sharing range.

* Stargates and Wormholes are probably later additions. If you can build these, it would unite the resource distribution range of of physically divided/blockaded empires.

* Stargates everywhere. It seems reasonable that a late-game tech could provide resource-shareing for all planets, and make blockades impossible



:arrow: Other Foci
Its been mentioned previously that Production/Research/Influence or Trade are not sufficient number of focus options. Some ideas:

Defense Focus:
I've long though that a defense focus would be good, since otherwise you are stuck with the uncontrolled increase of several meters to defend your planets. Setting a planet to "Defense" would:
  • a) moderately increase the target of shields, defense, and troops
    b) greatly increase the speed of movement toward the target value.
This is the focus you would want on a border planet where you expect an invasion. Or it could be used to repair the defenses of a recently ravaged (or captured) planet. Of course you get no production from a defense focus planet.

Trade & Influence Foci
I think i mentioned it earlier. If Growth & Mining become only occasional foci, there may be room for distinct Trade & Influence foci. Conceptually they kind of tread on each other's toes, but that may be because we've been thinking of one as a replacement for the other. Trade would make more sense as means to pay maintenance costs, and a trade focus might extend supply lanes. Influence could be used for the more purely social/diplomatic/espionage related activities. I'm not sure there's really room to make both well-developed, but there may be.

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Re: Removing Minerals?

#6 Post by eleazar » Tue May 01, 2012 8:25 pm

From this post:
Geoff the Medio wrote:It might work to do growth with effects that modify that actual population meter - not just target - though I think there used to be some issues with doing that sort of meter modification... At the very least, the meter change predictions won't work without some significant fixing, as I don't think they handle effects-based modifications to persistent meters properly.
Is that a problem with any meter with a target, i.e. the troop or construction meter, that adjusting the growth rate causes prediction problems.

Do other meters move toward the target in an a fancy s-curve, or lineally?

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Re: Removing Minerals?

#7 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue May 01, 2012 8:48 pm

eleazar wrote:Is that a problem with any meter with a target, i.e. the troop or construction meter, that adjusting the growth rate causes prediction problems.
Any meter that has a persistent value between turns may have issues if its value is modified by an effect. All those with associated target or max meters have persistent values.
Do other meters move toward the target in an a fancy s-curve, or lineally?
Meters that have associated target or max meters may or may not have hard-coded growth functions. Most increase by +1 per turn or decrease by -1 per turn towards the target, or +1 per turn and are always capped by the max. Population is a special case, with its fancy S-curve growth pattern.

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Re: Removing Minerals?

#8 Post by Zireael » Sun May 13, 2012 9:27 am

I am against removing Minerals or rolling them into Production. In my mind, Minerals = materials needed to build and Production = workers and tools. Besides, needing two resources to build anything is a good way of slowing down the rate of the production increasing. (Still, one can get unholy numbers in both after ~100 turns in a 60 star galaxy).

Moreover, needing two resources to build is a welcome change from other games of the genre, which usually need only one. And if they need two, the second is ubiquitous 'money' resource.

EDIT: Other foci are a good idea.

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Re: Removing Minerals?

#9 Post by marhawkman » Mon May 14, 2012 9:26 pm

my issue with the current model of minerals and production is that it leads to a lot of micromanagement. which is bad.... it's difficult and time consuming to have to switch a bunch of planets from production to minerals to offset the fact you just got a new production boosting tech.
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Re: Removing Minerals?

#10 Post by Bigjoe5 » Thu May 31, 2012 11:25 pm

OK, this discussion seems to have pretty much stalled. If nobody has any other comments, I'm going to go ahead and get started on this this weekend.

For now:

1. Minerals will be removed.
2. PP will be changed to require only industry.
3. Industry will not be stockpiled. It's easier to test this way first, as it doesn't require any additional changes.
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Re: Removing Minerals?

#11 Post by eleazar » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:54 am

I'm concerned that before the addition of Trade and/or Influence, removing minerals will too greatly decrease the focus options -- there would generally only be 2.

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Re: Removing Minerals?

#12 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:06 am

eleazar wrote:I'm concerned that before the addition of Trade and/or Influence, removing minerals will too greatly decrease the focus options -- there would generally only be 2.
I don't think I'd mind that for the time being... If the mining focus doesn't provide a significantly different strategic option, we're better off with just two focii. More incentive to get to the point where trade will be useful anyway. All in all, I favour moving forward with something we're probably going to have to do eventually rather than hold back on it because playability might take a minor hit in the short-run.
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Re: Removing Minerals?

#13 Post by eleazar » Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:18 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:I'm concerned that before the addition of Trade and/or Influence, removing minerals will too greatly decrease the focus options -- there would generally only be 2.
I don't think I'd mind that for the time being... If the mining focus doesn't provide a significantly different strategic option, we're better off with just two focii. More incentive to get to the point where trade will be useful anyway. All in all, I favour moving forward with something we're probably going to have to do eventually rather than hold back on it because playability might take a minor hit in the short-run.
You are probably right.

I think we discussed/agreed that the mining focus would still be available-- like the growth one-- on planets with certain specials. Currently i think just the lithic and robotic growth specials make sense to have a use as mining focus. Of course this "mining" is really just an industry boost.

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Re: Removing Minerals?

#14 Post by marhawkman » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:42 am

I agree with Bigjoe.
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Re: Removing Minerals?

#15 Post by MikkoM » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:11 am

eleazar wrote:I'm concerned that before the addition of Trade and/or Influence, removing minerals will too greatly decrease the focus options -- there would generally only be 2.
I am nowadays so far behind on what is currently happening in here that can`t comment anything in detail, but seeing the current pace of once fundamental parts of the resource system going to the trash can, this concerns me as well.

Now hopefully in the future there will still be multiple different focus options for the player to choose from and by so doing control his/her empire, and not everything will be made to run under the hood (away from player`s control), because of fears that players can`t run their empires if given multiple choices.
Bigjoe5 wrote:I don't think I'd mind that for the time being... If the mining focus doesn't provide a significantly different strategic option, we're better off with just two focii. More incentive to get to the point where trade will be useful anyway. All in all, I favour moving forward with something we're probably going to have to do eventually rather than hold back on it because playability might take a minor hit in the short-run.
Well basically, can`t things like planets with different mineral richness ratings and different sized planets with different mining abilities add strategic options to a space game? Anyway somehow I am guessing that this problem with minerals has once again more to do with stockpiles and resource distribution issues than lack of provided options.

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