Infrastructure Design Document Stuff

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drek
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Infrastructure Design Document Stuff

#1 Post by drek » Sun Jul 11, 2004 7:04 am

I'm working translating the results of the public review on Infrastructure into a actual piece of the design document.

Current Draft is on the wiki: http://www.freeorion.org/wiki/index.php ... ScratchPad

(Don’t worry so much about the Effects section; that’s another issue.)

The final system selected was the Krik/Geoff method, with labels like in my own suggestion. Each meter has a max value and a current value. Max value is set by Focus, technology, buildings, events, etc. Current Value (ie, the Infrastructure) slowly creeps up to match the Max Value. Resource production is Current Value * population.

However, there are some ambiguities. I'm posting 'em as questions to the community, sort of a non-binding highly informal mostly unofficial public review:

Q1: The range of meters.

Due to the Krik/Geoff method, meters must range from 0 to X.

What is X? 10, 100, 255?

A lower number seems “better” for representation on the UI, a higher number would provide greater granularity without resorting to fractional bonuses/penalties.

Q2: Are social meters infrastructure?

Resource meters (determining production of food, minerals, money, etc.) use the Max/Current scheme. Should social meters on planets use this scheme as well?

Social meters in v.3 include Health (influences population growth, could easily be renamed Healthcare) and Construction (influences current meter growth and possibly is a multiplier to build projects.) Future meters might include Happiness (perhaps renamed “Entertainment”) and Security.

Q3: The nature/name of the Construction meter

Construction governs the growth of Current Meters. I was thinking it might be used as the general Infrastructure meter (and named as such). It would then also govern what sort of build projects can be placed on a planet, and possibly act as a multiplier to cost of building a project on a specific planet.

The alternative is to use an averaged result of all meters to pick out an Infra Level (see below).

Q4: The names of Infrastructure Levels

I’d like to have a series of descriptive names (Small Colony, Rural World, MegaCity) that are used to classify planets….sheer fluff without much gameplay effect, though the Levels might be referenced to determine if certain buildings can be built on a world or not. Drawing a blank when trying to think of some good descriptive names for the various stages of a colony’s growth.

Thanks for any attention paid to the matter. Goal is to have a finished document to present to Aq by Tuesday (hopefully sooner), so if there’s extended debate I’ll probably just roll some dice to make the decisions: at this point a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

Heh,
bel

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tzlaine
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Re: Infrastructure Design Document Stuff

#2 Post by tzlaine » Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:06 am

drek wrote:Q1: The range of meters.

Due to the Krik/Geoff method, meters must range from 0 to X.

What is X? 10, 100, 255?

A lower number seems “better” for representation on the UI, a higher number would provide greater granularity without resorting to fractional bonuses/penalties.
To me, it depends on the granularity of the values in the range. If the values are discrete, I think 50 is a good number; otherwise, you only have 10 steps worth of progression in the entire game, and +1 is -really- significant.
Q2: Are social meters infrastructure?
Based on my understanding of the meaning of Infrastructure, it looks like the only meter that can be interpreted as Infrastructure is Construction. Didn't we basically start talking about Infrastructure as a way of knowing how "developed" a planet is? If you shift focus from farming to research, that shouldn't affect your colony's overall developmental maturity, so sticking with Contruction seems best to me.
Q3: The nature/name of the Construction meter

Construction governs the growth of Current Meters. I was thinking it might be used as the general Infrastructure meter (and named as such). It would then also govern what sort of build projects can be placed on a planet, and possibly act as a multiplier to cost of building a project on a specific planet.
This is precisely why I answered the way I did to Q2.
Q4: The names of Infrastructure Levels
Here are some ideas off the top of my head:

New Settlement
Settlement
Colony
Mature Colony
Developed World
Urban World

...pretty lousy. Hope it helps.

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Infrastructure Design Document Stuff

#3 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:41 am

tzlaine wrote:If the values are discrete, I think 50 is a good number; otherwise, you only have 10 steps worth of progression in the entire game, and +1 is -really- significant.
I'm of the opinion that we should have +1 as the smallest gradation. If we have +0.25, then why not make the meter range bigger and use +1 ? It's much simpler/cleaner, imho... +1.25 vs. +5, +3.75 vs +15, etc.

I also don't think we need a hard-coded cap. If we want meters to max out at 50 or 100, then we should just put in only enough things to give bonuses such that the most you can get is 50 or 100.

Infrastructure / Construction Meter

I think of "infrastructure" as being indicated by the resource meters. If they are high, then the planet has lots of infrastructure built up. Fittingly, it takes a long time to "build up" the resource meters. The sum of the resource meters could be an informal infrastructure level if needed.

"Construction" to me represents the degree to which the planet's economy can be quickly changed from making lots of one thing to making lots of another. It doesn't really make sense ot me to call this "infrastructure"... it's the rate of change of the measure of how well a planet makes things per capita... Not (necessarily) how built up the planet is (which to me is the resource meters)

I'd much rather use the resource and social meters directly as bases for restriction on types of buildings allowedat a planet. Rate at which you can change from mining to farming shouldn't make much of a difference to where you can put a SuperScienceLab.

Shifting focus is supposed to have a penalty. This penalty is currently the loss of built up resource meters. It makes sense to me that if you switch from being focused on making one thing, then switch to another and have to rebuild, a lot of your infrastructure is no longer useful and has to be rebuilt. Thus your total infrastructure, (sum of resource meters) falls for a time.

Planet Development Labels

Level of development:

Virgin / Nascent / Undeveloped / Pristine / Underdeveloped / Unexploited
Developing / Early / Lightly Developed / Poorly Developed / Partly Exploited
Established / Developed / Moderately Developed / Well Developed / Fully Exploited
Ancient / Climax / Heavily Developed / Overexploited

The development levels shouldn't indicate a particular type of production or social structure, necessarily. "Rural" implies farming or people not in cities. "Urbanized" implies commerce (trade) and people in cities. The key indication is how much development has been done on the planet, not what the social structure is (centralized urban, distributed rural)


I'd also like to see the highest resource meters indicated in the label:

Farming, Mining, Industrial, Commercial, Research -> One resource meter is significant higher than others
Mixed -> Two meters are moderately high, others are low
Balanced -> All meters roughly same level

What qualifies as "significant" is probably a ratio of meter values.

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#4 Post by drek » Sun Jul 11, 2004 9:46 am

Thanks.

re: the labels. I'm trying to avoid using words that indicate age (Young, Nascent, Ancient) because instra can be lost to events (earthquakes, wars, etc.). So a colony with crappy infra might be quite *old*.

Perhaps there's a metric that can be used to distinguish between worlds with destroyed infra and newly minted colonies. (for example, using the actual age of the colony in turns, or comparing current infra to a "high score" variable.)
Last edited by drek on Sun Jul 11, 2004 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#5 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jul 11, 2004 10:26 am

drek wrote:avoid using words that indicate age
Yeah I noticed that after the fact...

When a planet is bombed, set the "bombed" flag or create the "bombed planet" actor, either of which last for 20 turns, or say 1 turn per 3 points of lost resource meters ("infrastructure")

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#6 Post by Daveybaby » Sun Jul 11, 2004 12:44 pm

drek wrote:re: the labels. I'm trying to avoid using words that indicate age (Young, Nascent, Ancient) because instra can be lost to events (earthquakes, wars, etc.). So a colony with crappy infra might be quite young.
It should be possible to have both, i.e. define a planet as young/new if thats what it is, and describe it as damaged/polluted/bombarded if thats what has happened. Just need to use a state machine to determine what happens to a planet.

The effects of these states would probably be different anyway, i imagine that a new colony would differ in growth patterns than a well developed one which has been damaged or even bombarded into oblivion (e.g. we may want to make a heavily bombarded system even worse than a new one, to try to encourage invasion over bombardment).

Have to be careful that things arent too easy to exploit. e.g. if an enemy manages to bomb one of your worlds with 1 tiny bomber for one turn, the planet probably shouldnt suffer the same negative consequences as one which has been heavily bombarded by a massive armada for 5 turns in a row.
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#7 Post by Impaler » Sun Jul 11, 2004 2:48 pm

I dont see why our metter needs to go from 0 to X as you say. I though we would be doing it in the SMAC fashion inwhich 0 is the "nutral" and you can go above or Below that point. Its not nessary (but in my opinion desireable for reasons of symetry) for the metters to extend an equal amount above and below 0. Just as a combination of good things can give you a high rating a combination of bad things shoule be capable of dropping your output to stageringly low levels (perhaps you even start to get into the realm of horendus waste and a planet not only stops producing a resorce but starts to consume it, imagine a planet that generated NEGATIVE lab points due to a "Nural Nulifier" attack!)

I think the most felexible way to deal with the Metters is to design the GUI with a sliding Scale. A set of colored vertical bars representing Metters is shown with a number at the top of the bar indicatinge the value. If the metters go negative then they drop into a mirrored area below. It could look something like this. A, B, C, D are initials for the differnt metters, ignore the .....



+4
|...........+3
|...+2.....|
|....|.......|
|....|.......|
A B C D
.........|
.........|
........-2
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#8 Post by PowerCrazy » Sun Jul 11, 2004 4:34 pm

I sayh we define planets based on their focus and the level of infrastructure.

Thus a new farming planet is:
farmstead
food sufficent
food factory
commercialized farm
super farming utopia

reasearch:
Hobbyist Playground
Mad Scientist Laboratory
Research Park
Scientific Mecca

etc. THat way at a glance a player can easilly tell both the size of the colony AND what its primary focus is. Also it adds flavor to the game (once some better ones have been come up with).

Also tzlaine infrastructure should be based on the current focus of the planet. If you change the focus of the planet you should lose infrastrucutre, and the amount of time it takes to get back to 100% in your new focus represents the penelty associated with changing focus, as Geoff the Medio said.
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#9 Post by tzlaine » Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:03 pm

I guess I don't know what people mean when they say infrastructure. Since I haven't really had the time to follow the inforastructure discussion that closely, I've been going by the dictionary definition, which is pretty much equivalent to the Construction meter.

Bu "losing infrastructure", what you do mean? If I change from research to farming, do I lose my power grid, roads, schools, local government agencies, etc.? These things are infrastructure to me, and I think they are encapsulated in the Contstruction meter.

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#10 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jul 11, 2004 9:09 pm

tzlaine wrote:Bu "losing infrastructure", what you do mean? If I change from research to farming, do I lose my power grid, roads, schools, local government agencies, etc.? These things are infrastructure to me, and I think they are encapsulated in the Contstruction meter.
To me, "infrastructure" is the factories, labs, mines, farms and financial/trade buildings on a planet that produce PP, reserach, minerals, food and money.

I can understand the idea of including "general infrastructure" that isn't specifically about producing a particular resource, but I don't see any point to doing so. If something bad happens to a planet, and all the current resource meters are drastically lowered, then that is a pretty good indication that the "infrastructure" has been mostly destroyed.

"losing infrastructure" means reductions in the resource meters. This can be due to bombing, or could be due to focus change. If you changing from double focused mining to double focused research, you have to abandon all the mines and build up a bunch of new labs. The infrastructure that you had that was for mining is now useless, so is lost. This is not completely realistic (ie you wouldn't really have to destroy the mines to build factories) but is included as a simplified penalty for focus switching.

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#11 Post by PowerCrazy » Mon Jul 12, 2004 12:08 am

^^^
Exactly.

Also Tzlaine, typical(real-world) infrastructure (powerlines, sewers, etc) is more closely resembled by population in FO. Infrastructure in FO is the generic buildings that we were all a fan of in MoO2, Automated Factories, Robotic Factories, Robo-Miner Plant, Advanced Industry Building number 6, etc.

In FO I hope that we can have a different Building Dynamic then has been exhibited in Civ, SMAC, MoO2 and all those other Building games that, I love, but could use some improvement.
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#12 Post by Geoff the Medio » Mon Jul 12, 2004 1:16 am

In the v0.3 scratchpad, drek says he wants "Powercrazy and a few other eyes to take a look at [Geoff's] formula". I'm not exactly sure which formula he means, but it's probably the population growth formula or the meter growth formula. Both are on the talk page.

Growth Meter Formula:
http://www.freeorion.org/wiki/index.php ... owth_Meter

Resource Meter Growth Formula:
http://www.freeorion.org/wiki/index.php ... ter_Growth

For the latter, there wasn't much thought put into the exact form or constant(s), other than that the rate of growth should fall for higher meter levels. I don't doubt a better formula could be chosen. I'm also not too keen on the focus bonus that drek added, as it leads to needing to micro things to get the optimal rate of growth overall, as I mentioned on the talk page.

The rough scale of the meters was based on stuff from this thread:

viewtopic.php?t=791

(Though I realized we don't need exponential growth in the growth meter, since growth is already pseudoexponential. Also, the resource meters should have factors that vary linearly with their value as in scratchpad now: we're using (meter value / 10) , since it matters how much additional amount of something you have, not the ratio of what you had before to what you have now, when deciding if meter bonuses always have the same relative worth independent of their current value)

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#13 Post by drek » Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:14 am

Bu "losing infrastructure", what you do mean? If I change from research to farming, do I lose my power grid, roads, schools, local government agencies, etc.? These things are infrastructure to me, and I think they are encapsulated in the Contstruction meter.
Good point.

Definition-wise I'd sooner say the road leading to a mine is infrastructure, rather than the mine itself.

But since there's contention, I think I'll just keep Construction as "Construction", but use it as an Infra meter would be used.
The effects of these states would probably be different anyway, i imagine that a new colony would differ in growth patterns than a well developed one which has been damaged or even bombarded into oblivion (e.g. we may want to make a heavily bombarded system even worse than a new one, to try to encourage invasion over bombardment).
Orginally I had a state machine that did exactly that. Hopefully there'll be at least a "Shell-shocked" type status that can be applied to planets, as a result of v.4 planet bombardments.

In regards to pollution, I suspect it'll be a long lasting event (ie, a status effect) spawned by certain buildings. I had an Enviroment meter to apply pollution effects to, but was convinced that a meter being heavily influnced (and heavily influncing) other meters was a bad idea.

Or instead of directly modelling pollution, it could be that many Industrial semi-wonders also reduce the Farming and/or Health meters.

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#14 Post by emrys » Tue Jul 13, 2004 9:55 am

Geoff the Medio wrote: Also, the resource meters should have factors that vary linearly with their value as in scratchpad now: we're using (meter value / 10) , since it matters how much additional amount of something you have, not the ratio of what you had before to what you have now, when deciding if meter bonuses always have the same relative worth independent of their current value)
Just thought I'd note my disagreement with this point again, I think the exact opposite. I.e. it's the relative change in your situation that is important, not the absolute number, i.e. and increase of 25Rp/turn on a output of 100 is game changing, 25Rp when your are producing a million a turn is trivial.

On the point of infrastructure, the meters and the effect of switching focus, could I suggest a tweak that I feel would make the system more intuitively satisfying.

My understanding of the system proposed so far is that if a planet has built uop it's meters to a certain pointm, and then switches focus such that some of these meters are too high, the excess is lost completly at the start of the next turn. Conceptually this tends to be viewed as "all the now unused mines and mining related support industries, equipment and training is now worthless". The planet then builds up from the now functioning meter levels to the target.

Would it not make more sense to "disable" the excess infrastructure, so that it does not provide the benefits it did whilst operational, and model a "retooling/retraining" process, where the new infra builds up at double rate so long as there is some disabled infra that can be switched over.

I.e. so long as there is 'disabled' infra, the construction accumulator only has to reach half the normal value, but when it reaches this value, one point of new infra is added, and one point of disabled infra is lost. (if all the levels of infra have the same cost, if the cost increases with each level, then each disabled level of infra could reduce the cost of the new infra by the smaller of half the cost of the new infra level, or half the cost of the old level, so you always get less back than you put in.)

This would mean well devloped planets could switch focus more rapidly than a devloping planet could build up.

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#15 Post by drek » Tue Jul 13, 2004 2:45 pm

emrys wrote:
Would it not make more sense to "disable" the excess infrastructure, so that it does not provide the benefits it did whilst operational, and model a "retooling/retraining" process, where the new infra builds up at double rate so long as there is some disabled infra that can be switched over.
UI simplicity and a definitive reaction to the action of changing foci is why I changed it from the method described above. Bad decision?
This would mean well devloped planets could switch focus more rapidly than a devloping planet could build up.
The construction meter doesn't reduce when foci are switched, modelling this this behavior.

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