gameplay observations from v.2

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drek
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gameplay observations from v.2

#1 Post by drek » Wed Aug 11, 2004 10:39 am

A thread for observations on on well the design is working, gathered from playtesting v.2:

1: We really do need to fix starlanes, untangling them a least a little bit. Thanks to Geoff for the work he's already done on this.

2: Balancing minerals and industry is a bit a chore. The global build queue will help, I think. Should also include some obvious cues to the player when his minerals fall below industry.

3: The population forumla's results occurs way too slowly for new colonies, considering that this is a turn based game. If I didn't know better, I'd assume the population isn't growing at all.

4: There needs to be an an indication of planet suitability (Optimal, Adequate, Terrible, etc.).

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noelte
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Re: gameplay observations from v.2

#2 Post by noelte » Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:21 am

drek wrote:2: Balancing minerals and industry is a bit a chore. The global build queue will help, I think. Should also include some obvious cues to the player when his minerals fall below industry.
There is already an empire wide display which shows, if you are short in minerals/food.

(Which seems to be broken in the v.2 build->bug)
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: gameplay observations from v.2

#3 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Aug 11, 2004 4:36 pm

drek wrote:2: Balancing minerals and industry is a bit a chore. The global build queue will help, I think. Should also include some obvious cues to the player when his minerals fall below industry.
I think the problem is that with only a few planets, the focus system limits your options too much... You can be balanced / blanced on your homeworld, but if you want to increase production, the only way is to set primary / secondary to production / mining or mining / production. Either way you're wasting a lot of production capacity compared to balanced.

Not that I'm suggesting we abandon the focus system, but just keep in mind that you need to keep things balanced at first, until some of your new colonies get somewhere near as big as the homeworld, at which point their focii can compliment eachother without much wastage. Also, right now, you can set homeworld to secondary mining focus, and use all the minearals it producing to run all your new colonies at primary industry.
3: The population forumla's results occurs way too slowly for new colonies, considering that this is a turn based game. If I didn't know better, I'd assume the population isn't growing at all.
I don't recall, but does population have a decimal place when displayed for a particular planet? Maybe there should be one.

Alternatively, population numbers could all be scaled up by a factor of 10, so what's a 25 max pop world now would have 250 max pop. This would make growth more obvious, without resorting to a decimal place. (Food consumption would scale fine, but this would result in other resource amounts being 10 x higher as well, which might be bad)

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#4 Post by drek » Wed Aug 11, 2004 7:12 pm

If we scaled pop up, we'd divide it by the scale factor before multipling it with meters. Might be a good idea, but still think the growth formula could use some tweaking (esp since it's used by Construction as well).

As it stands, a player who colonizes instead of building attack ships is screwing himself. From a couple of brief multiplayer games on small maps, discovered the easiest way to win is to set focus on homeworld to research until you get attack ships, then build em and roll right over the other players.

Giving the homeworld some innate defense would help with this, probably should be in v.3 as a stopgap.

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#5 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Aug 11, 2004 7:37 pm

drek wrote:If we scaled pop up, we'd divide it by the scale factor before multipling it with meters.
I had the same thought, and wrote it, but removed it because we'd have to make corresponding changes to the food consumption rate as well... Not necessarily a horrid thing to do, but it seemed simpler to keep the current ratios
...still think the growth formula could use some tweaking
The whole growth formula is rather nonintuitive and, imo, needlessly right now. I'd be happy with something much simpler, perhaps growth independent of current population, and only dependent on growth meter. I imagine there was an argument about this back when the current formula was decided on, though...
(esp since it's used by Construction as well).
I've been saying the current formula sucks for construction for months... In this case, there's no reason not to use constant growth of 1 / turn or somesuch. With population, it's a bit of a realism issue, as population growth is exponential generally, so there's some sense in modelling it as such. Construction, however, has much less expectation baggage attached, so can be made any way we want without worry (woo, was wicked walliteration, wasn't wit?)
As it stands, a player who colonizes instead of building attack ships is screwing himself. From a couple of brief multiplayer games on small maps, discovered the easiest way to win is to set focus on homeworld to research until you get attack ships, then build em and roll right over the other players.
That's a function of the silly underdeveloped research system. If things were based more around production capacity, rather than getting to Mark I's fastest, then colonizing would be better. Being able to build attack ships from the start would also help.

Thought: is colonizing ever going to cost population points from where you build the colony ship? Right now, population grows fastest on a planet if its current pop is about half of its max pop. That would mean you'd actually increase your overall pop rate of growth by colonizing from worlds with more than half of max pop, as removing people would increase the growth rate.

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#6 Post by drek » Wed Aug 11, 2004 7:49 pm

Pop stuff and Construction stuff
Feel free to suggest alternatives on the nuts and bolts board. I might try my hand at it myself.
If things were based more around production capacity, rather than getting to Mark I's fastest, then colonizing would be better.
You can build Mark Is at the start. It's optimal to quickly research up to Mark II in case your opponent has built defense (or I guess you could just pump out Mark 1s, probably would be faster.)

In the meantime, a player who's concentrating on building colonies and few defense ships will see no real benefits from the extra colonies by the time the Mark IIs arrive. (or the Mark Is for that matter)
Thought: is colonizing ever going to cost population points from where you build the colony ship? Right now, population grows fastest on a planet if its current pop is about half of its max pop. That would mean you'd actually increase your overall pop rate of growth by colonizing from worlds with more than half of max pop, as removing people would increase the growth rate.
Nod. As stated, might be time to rethink the pop growth formula.

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#7 Post by drek » Wed Aug 11, 2004 7:57 pm

Occurs to me the rushing problem could also be partially solved by giving ships a maintaince fee.

Traits population/construction/resource meter growth should have:

* Colonies need to mostly suck early on, so that lack of farming stymes empire growth.

* Apparent growth needs to be something faster that glacial, so the player doesn't feel like his colonies are stuck in time.

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#8 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Aug 11, 2004 9:17 pm

drek wrote:Feel free to suggest alternatives on the nuts and bolts board.
Done.
...a player who's concentrating on building colonies and few defense ships will see no real benefits from the extra colonies by the time the Mark IIs arrive. (or the Mark Is for that matter)
Maybe you should play on larger galaxies? Anything with < 30 stars is going to be a pretty quick fast bloodbath... Most games that combine production, combat with what you produce and variable map sizes have similar results, in my experience.

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Re: gameplay observations from v.2

#9 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Aug 12, 2004 2:35 am

noelte wrote:There is already an empire wide display which shows, if you are short in minerals/food.

(Which seems to be broken in the v.2 build->bug)
It only seems to update when you end the turn. The listed turns to complete a build project also don't update until the turn is ended.

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#10 Post by noelte » Thu Aug 12, 2004 7:50 am

It only seems to update when you end the turn.
That's fixed now.
The listed turns to complete a build project also don't update until the turn is ended.
I didn't recognized that point. Will see what to do about it. Maybe it has already disappeared by the fix above.
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#11 Post by PowerCrazy » Thu Aug 12, 2004 8:58 am

Yea I agree that population does grow quite slowly. However the purpose of the growth formula was so that planet development would be slow. A 10x scalar would help. I like the idea of a bigger base population size as well.

Also the pop growth formula was intended for up to v.3 only. After that we will need to start acocunting for technology, governments, racial bonuses, etc. Balance (between ships and expansion for example) will need to be heavilly considered after v.3 as well.

We did decide that we didn't want a flat rate of growth though, too boring and linear growth is too advantageous for expansion.

The construction meter can be updated similiarly.
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#12 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Aug 12, 2004 4:17 pm

PowerCrazy wrote:Also the pop growth formula was intended for up to v.3 only. After that we will need to start acocunting for technology, governments, racial bonuses, etc. Balance (between ships and expansion for example) will need to be heavilly considered after v.3 as well.
Wouldn't all of those sorts of things be dealt with by giving bonuses / penalties to health? (ie. it's a content thing, not a formula thing)
We did decide that we didn't want a flat rate of growth though, too boring and linear growth is too advantageous for expansion.
Good point... if growth is independent of population, then it becomes defacto dependent on number of colonies, which means civ-like ICS... Though whether this is actually a bad thing, we might want to not d eclare with too much certainty before balance testing to be sure...
A 10x scalar would help.
A 10x scaler might make growth too fast when your population is near 50% of the planet's maximum. "Flattening" the curve a bit might help (so we'd use a different formula, not just a constant multiple).

Something like:

(pop_change) = sqrt(pop) * (max_pop - pop) / max_pop

or:

(pop_change) = pop * (((max_pop - pop) / max_pop) ^ 2)

Code: Select all

pop    cur  w/sqrt w/^2
1.0	 1.0	1.0	0.9
2.0	 1.8	1.3	1.6
3.0	 2.6	1.5	2.1
4.0	 3.4	1.7	2.5
5.0	 4.0	1.8	2.8
6.0	 4.6	1.9	3.0
7.0	 5.0	1.9	3.2
8.0	 5.4	1.9	3.3
9.0	 5.8	1.9	3.4
10.0	6.0	1.9	3.5
11.0	6.2	1.9	3.5
12.0	6.2	1.8	3.5
13.0	6.2	1.7	3.5
14.0	6.2	1.6	3.5
15.0	6.0	1.5	3.5
16.0	5.8	1.4	3.4
17.0	5.4	1.3	3.3
18.0	5.0	1.2	3.2
19.0	4.6	1.0	3.0
20.0	4.0	0.9	2.8
21.0	3.4	0.7	2.5
22.0	2.6	0.6	2.1
23.0	1.8	0.4	1.6
24.0	1.0	0.2	0.9
25.0	0.0	0.0	0.0
legend:
cur = current formula (without Tyreth's +1 modification) = pop * (max_pop - pop) / max_pop
w/sqrt = formula with sqrt above
w/^2 = formula with ^2 above

all use 25 as max pop

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#13 Post by vorenhutz » Fri Aug 20, 2004 1:06 am

The pop growth formula uses a growth parameter of 7.2%, so that pop doubles in ~10 turns (neglecting crowding effects). Also, crowding is new in v0.2, and reduces growth a bit compared to v0.1. I think the formula doesn't really need tweaking, just increase the growth parameter a bit, to double population in say 6-8 turns.
Also food never seems to be an issue, a terran world has surplus = 2xpop with balanced focus, and since the less arable worlds have less population, I can't see you'd ever need farming focus, let alone be short of food.

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#14 Post by noelte » Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:21 am

i think dwelling should be done quicker in cases you have very little population. Maybe some sort of production spend on pop growth
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