Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

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

Moderator: Oberlus

Message
Author
User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 3173
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#1 Post by Oberlus »

Proposal for colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics.

Stemming from this thread on Influence.

Colonies focused on influence produce it. Nothing else (a priori).
Techs, buildings and policies may increase de influence production (pop-based) or reduce the influence upkeep of certain assets.
At any time in the game evolution, an empire will produce IPs each turn as per this equation:

IP per turn = P*B + S
where
P is the total population of the colonies set to influence focus;
B is the total pop-based bonus, being it the sum of the species influence bonus plus any other from techs, buildings, policies or specials; and
S is the Imperial Palace flat bonus.

This is a blatant simplification of what should be the real formula, the summation for each influence colony of its local population multiplied per its local influence bonus (that might be different for each colony depending on species, happiness, supply connection, etc.). But it serves a purpose for estimation of parameters in this proposal.

Influence upkeep serves as the break for steamrolling/exponential growth.
The more colonies/ships you have, the more influence you need to pay for each asset.

It is my preconception that the increase of influence upkeep per ship/colony should grow to a maximum that, at end game (full tech tree researched) an empire that has colonised all planets in the galaxy must have all colonies set to influence and only has spare influence to pay for fleet upkeep worth a small percentage (X) of the total colony influence upkeep. It could be something like this:

Total colony upkeep per turn COL_UPK = C*(MIN+(MAX-MIN)*(C/G))
where
C is the number of colonies of the empire.
G is the total number of planets, asteroid belts and GGs in the galaxy.
MIN is the minimum influence upkeep of a colony, including homeworld. It might be zero (so that homeworld alone would not require any influence upkeep).
MAX is the maximum influence upkeep of a colony, when the empire owns all colonies. At that point, total colony upkeep paid by the empire would be G*MAX.

Similarly, for fleet upkeep, we get:

Total fleet upkeep per turn FLT_UPK = FLEET_PPS*(FMIN+(FMAX-FMIN)*(C/G))
where FLEET_PPS is the total number of PP cost of the imperial fleet, and FMIN/FMAX are minimum/maximum influence upkeep per ship PP.

Getting back to the "preconception", if we put together the equation of empire's IP production (for all galaxy colonies set to influence) and the one for end-game colony upkeep, we get

(1-X)(P*B+S) = G*MAX

We also have that P = G*PMAX, where PMAX is average end-game population per planet (say 50).
If we assume that end-game B for average species is 1.0 (let's call it BMAX), X is 0.1, and we neglect S, we get 0.9*50*G*1.0 = G*MAX, so MAX = 45. Or more exactly:

MAX = (1-X)*PMAX*BMAX

The proposed increase of colony upkeep, linear to the number of colonies, could be changed by something more sofisticated (exponential, sine wave, etc.) if balance needs it. But the idea of linking MAX to maximum number of colonies in the galaxy seems solid. This way it could work for 50-system galaxies the same that for 5000-system galaxies. However, number of systems per empire could be necessary somewhere in the equation to allow for faster expansion early game when there are fewer players, if this is deemed necessary.

At the beginning of the game, the S shall provide for all the influence an empire may need to keep initial gameplay the same we have now (i.e. no need to focus your HW to influence to get your first ships and colonies).
Only after growing enough your fleet or acquiring enough colonies (or a mix) you will need extra influence and have to set some colonies to influence and/or research/build/apply specific techs/buildings/policies (either way reducing your expansion velocity).

The actual value of MAX shall depend on PMAX and BMAX(*), that in turn depends on the species traits and tech tree. That is, if you know your tech tree, you can set MAX. One could do the reversed analysis, fix maximum colony upkeep, assume PMAX and deduce BMAX, but this way seems easier: you can tailor tech tree and species to ensure BMAX is 1.0, and the same for PMAX.

Next stop is to find a proper ratio between MAX and FMAX (colonies and ships upkeep costs). Something like "an end-game colony upkeep costs as much as 10 robo hulls with end-game gear". Assuming PMAX=50 and BMAX=1.0, average end-game IP production would be 50, and so these end-game robos would cost 5 IPs per turn each. That would mean, assuming X=0.1 and that such ships costs 100 PPs, that FMAX would be 5/100=0.05 IPs/PP. Also, that this end-game empire could maintain a fleet of G such ships (one per colony), 100 small/medium ships for 100 colonies. If that is too small (looks like it is), we reduce FMAX (0.005 instead of 0.05 to have something like 1 titan or 10 robos per colony)


Comments?

User avatar
labgnome
Juggernaut
Posts: 833
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:57 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#2 Post by labgnome »

There has also been a lot of call of influence upkeep based on number of species in your empire. This is especially relevant regarding the recent discussion on balancing natives. Maybe something with number of species divided by number of colonies?
All of my contributions should be considered released under creative commons attribution share-alike license, CC-BY-SA 3.0 for use in, by and with the Free Orion project.

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 3173
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#3 Post by Oberlus »

labgnome wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:18 pminfluence upkeep based on number of species in your empire [...] Maybe something with number of species divided by number of colonies?
I don't have enough free and healthy neurons to develop that.
I think it is a better approach to make unhappy colonies cost more influence, and introduction of new species cause unhappiness, depending on the species values, empires action, blablabla.

User avatar
Krikkitone
Creative Contributor
Posts: 1540
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 6:52 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#4 Post by Krikkitone »

In terms of Maintenance and Un/Happiness relationship

I like this model
Imperial maintenance= colonies *( Min + (Max-min)*(% of galaxy colonized))

However.... Max and Min should depend on 'Policy Cards" chosen. Those "Policy Cards" could have benefits or costs

So if you are incorporating a lot of new species....
"Integration Policy"... increases happiness of non capital species, increases Minimum Maintenance

or if you are xenociding everyone anyways
"Optimization Policy"...decreases happiness of non capital species, decreases Maximum Maintenance

So...Policy Cards would give you the ability to pay more (or less) maintenance for other benefits (or penalties)


So if you have colonized the whole Galaxy, depending on your Policy Choices, that could mean 30%, 70%, 150%, or 300% of your worlds need to be on full influence focus just to pay maintenance.

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 3173
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#5 Post by Oberlus »

Krikkitone wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:50 pmSo if you have colonized the whole Galaxy, depending on your Policy Choices, that could mean 30%, 70%, 150%, or 300% of your worlds need to be on full influence focus just to pay maintenance.
More like 80%-150%. I mean, allowing for crazy strategies (regarding policy choices and anything else) that throw yourself into influence banckruptcy if you are not cautious is OK, IMO, as long as you don't allow for really stupid things to happen, but allowing for strategies that allow you to have several times the military and production power of other empires of the same size seems to me like a winning ticket for steamrolling. In other words, the system must ensure that the ones with more power are slowed down.

User avatar
Krikkitone
Creative Contributor
Posts: 1540
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 6:52 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#6 Post by Krikkitone »

Oberlus wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:58 pm
Krikkitone wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:50 pmSo if you have colonized the whole Galaxy, depending on your Policy Choices, that could mean 30%, 70%, 150%, or 300% of your worlds need to be on full influence focus just to pay maintenance.
More like 80%-150%. I mean, allowing for crazy strategies (regarding policy choices and anything else) that throw yourself into influence banckruptcy if you are not cautious is OK, IMO, as long as you don't allow for really stupid things to happen, but allowing for strategies that allow you to have several times the military and production power of other empires of the same size seems to me like a winning ticket for steamrolling. In other words, the system must ensure that the ones with more power are slowed down.
Well at the 150% or 300% policy choices you would never try to colonize the whole Galaxy (ie you would only colonize 20-40% of the galaxy and obliterate the rest, or go for a Tech win)

(as a matter of fact if you are spending 50%* or more of your planets on colony up keep, then colonizing another planet is not worthwhile, and you should let planets rebel...and then obliterate them for their rebellion)

If you wanted to go for a Standard Conquest win (actually Conquering most enemy planets), you would probably have to keep Policy choices that kept your Maintenance costs to 120% or less for galactic colonization. (30% would probably come with severe penalties like shutting down tech, high chance of rebellion, poor production, etc.)

* if you are aiming for the optimum amount of Useful planets, and are spending 50% on maintenance adding one more planet will actually decrease your number of useful planets (if minimum is 0)

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 3173
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#7 Post by Oberlus »

Well... Maybe 300% wouldn't hurt. But 30% is too off, even 70%.

User avatar
Krikkitone
Creative Contributor
Posts: 1540
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 6:52 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#8 Post by Krikkitone »

Oberlus wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:32 pm Well... Maybe 300% wouldn't hurt. But 30% is too off, even 70%.
If the maintenance is over 50% then colonization HURTS your output.

There should be a set of policy cards (low Influence maintenance/world, high Influence production/world) that by the end of the game makes it worthwhile to colonize the whole galaxy [but comes with rather severe drawbacks like low industry, low happiness, low research, poor troops, high ship maintenance, etc.] Someone should be able to have 'colonize everything' as a strategy, that is valid in certain situations.

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 3173
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#9 Post by Oberlus »

Krikkitone wrote: Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:02 amIf the maintenance is over 50% then colonization HURTS your output.
Yes, but
  • getting new planets also increases production, so the pain (actual output reduction) comes after 50%
  • add some flat bonuses to the mix and the hurt is delayed further,
  • invading enemy planets also hurts your enemy,
  • you need to get those enemy planets to finish the game,
  • making things harders for the empire that is winning is the point.
Krikkitone wrote: Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:02 amThere should be a set of policy cards (low Influence maintenance/world, high Influence production/world) that by the end of the game makes it worthwhile to colonize the whole galaxy [but comes with rather severe drawbacks like low industry, low happiness, low research, poor troops, high ship maintenance, etc.]
Isn't that like hurting his output?
Krikkitone wrote: Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:02 amSomeone should be able to have 'colonize everything' as a strategy, that is valid in certain situations.
With this restriction it would be more than possible, easy. It reduces your overall output, but it is still high when compared to the enemy's, because she has way less galaxy than you, which also hurt her output a lot.

Well, I can have wrong numbers anyway. I shall try better (o do more complex numbers).

User avatar
labgnome
Juggernaut
Posts: 833
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:57 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#10 Post by labgnome »

What about a pop-based influence upkeep? Population is primarily what production and research are extracted from. This way we do not run into the problem of requiring proportionally fewer planets to produce influence to maintain the empire the more growth bonuses we get as the game progresses. Say each pop not producing influence cost 0.06 influence upkeep, assuming each pop producing influence produces 0.2 influence per pop.

As far as species upkeep goes maybe something like this: F*(Ne*Nm*(Ns-1)*Sum(Cs/Ce))

Where F is a factor or function supplied by policies which defaults to some pre-set value, Ne is the number of environmental preferences, Nm is the number of metabolism types, Ns is the number of species, Cs is the number of colonies of a particular species, and Ce is the number of colonies in your empire. This way your starting species produces no extra upkeep but each species you add and the more "diverse" your empire is in environmental preferences and metabolism types the more upkeep your empire will be.

As far as shipyards go, maybe an upkeep formula like this: F*((Nsy-1)*Ssy+(Nu-1)+Sum(Jmax-Jsy))

Where F is a factor or function supplied by policies which defaults to some pre-set value, Nsy is the number of shipyards, Ssy is the number of different species in your empire that own shipyards, Nu is the number of upgrade buildings, Jmax is the maximum number of jumps any two shipyards can be, and Jsy is the distance in jumps between any two shipyards. This way your initial shipyard and drydock doesn't incur an upkeep cost, but all subsequent shipyards and upgrades will. Shipyards will incur extra costs for the number of species that own them and also for being in proximity to each other. The proximity could possibly be capped at some value so that large galaxies don't generate obscene shipyard upkeep early in the game.
All of my contributions should be considered released under creative commons attribution share-alike license, CC-BY-SA 3.0 for use in, by and with the Free Orion project.

ThinkSome
Dyson Forest
Posts: 223
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:13 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#11 Post by ThinkSome »

I don't think exponential growth is a problem, I think the problem is largely unfair mapgen.

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 3173
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#12 Post by Oberlus »

labgnome wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 8:52 pm What about a pop-based influence upkeep? Population is primarily what production and research are extracted from. This way we do not run into the problem of requiring proportionally fewer planets to produce influence to maintain the empire the more growth bonuses we get as the game progresses. Say each pop not producing influence cost 0.06 influence upkeep, assuming each pop producing influence produces 0.2 influence per pop.
IP = 0.2*influence-focused-pop - 0.06*non-influence-focused-pop

For simplicity, that's the same as

IP = 0.206*influence-focused-pop - 0.06*pop

Call influence-focused-pop Q, and pop P, with Q<P.

For IP = 0 (stationary economy) you need Q = 0.06*P/0.206 = 0.2913*P

And that is constant over the game. I mean, you are not tackling the snowball effect, at all, just multiplying production of PP and RP by a constant (same as with this other proposal).

You do need to have an upkeep ratio that grows with your empire (even if you have a single species and a single shipyard).

So, what about the proposal in this OP that already seems to work? Do you have anything to comment or expand on that? I don't see the point on proposing alternatives that don't work :wink:


labgnome wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 8:52 pm As far as species upkeep goes maybe something like this: F*(Ne*Nm*(Ns-1)*Sum(Cs/Ce))

Where F is a factor or function supplied by policies which defaults to some pre-set value, Ne is the number of environmental preferences, Nm is the number of metabolism types, Ns is the number of species, Cs is the number of colonies of a particular species, and Ce is the number of colonies in your empire.
Too complicated the many factors you want to consider. IMO, It's enough to count number of different species.
Also, I suspect this equation would not work, too unbalanced. Have you ran a spreadsheet?
I would just introduce in the OP colonies equations a malus for IP consumption depending on number of species in the empire.
labgnome wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 8:52 pm As far as shipyards go, maybe an upkeep formula like this: F*((Nsy-1)*Ssy+(Nu-1)+Sum(Jmax-Jsy))

Where F is a factor or function supplied by policies which defaults to some pre-set value, Nsy is the number of shipyards, Ssy is the number of different species in your empire that own shipyards, Nu is the number of upgrade buildings, Jmax is the maximum number of jumps any two shipyards can be, and Jsy is the distance in jumps between any two shipyards.
Again, too complicated, and does not seem balanced. Spreadsheets?

Why not assign some fixed influence cost to each building (including shipyards and their upgrades) and let the equations in OP to make IP production more costly as the empire growths? Any objection to it?

Ophiuchus
Programmer
Posts: 1811
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:01 am
Location: Wall IV

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#13 Post by Ophiuchus »

What I like about the idea of linking upkeep mechanic to galaxy size (e.g. number-of-available-planets) is that it allows for a similar game speed in terms of expansion into the universe. An interesting map would be an a very wide circle where empires start close to the inner rim of the circle and can expand radially without much resistance, but soon having problems with their neighbors.

I would prefer some kind of monotonic logarithmic progression, so you know that you always get more the more you get (but the payoff always gets smaller). Simple example: at the start you need one planet to support five planets with influence, the next five planets you need two planets, the next five planets you need three. A wide policy would e.g. double the numbers of supported planets per influence planet. A tall policy you could use instead would give bonus to production/research/stockpile.

So lets say empire capital can support five planets without having to set influence focus. 1 capital + 5 planets + 7th planet set to influence + 5 planets + 13th and 14th planet set to influence + up to 5 planets (so in this example you set three planets to influence in order to keep up to nineteen planets happy. 0/6,1/11,3/19,6/27,10/36,15/46,...,).
This should be long term and maybe you should be able to go into influence debt. So do not have to immediatly set a planet to influence the moment you acquire your seventh planet, or if you do you could stockpile some influence for later.

Being not able to pay upkeep/being in debt should have consequences. Malus on happiness (e.g. -1 max happiness per 1 debt on a random planet). E.g. no repair for your fleets, higher influence cost for influence projects.

And this should probably not be based on number of planets but on planet sizes.

This could also be done via a formula but a simple formulation of the basic principle and simple iterative results would be helpful.

So what I want to say whatever we choose besides limiting snowballing it has also to be easy to commincate/understand.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Look, ma... four combat bouts!

User avatar
labgnome
Juggernaut
Posts: 833
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:57 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#14 Post by labgnome »

Oberlus wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 10:43 amYou do need to have an upkeep ratio that grows with your empire (even if you have a single species and a single shipyard).
Well these would be in addition to the equations in the OP, and also it would grow with your empire.
I would just introduce in the OP colonies equations a malus for IP consumption depending on number of species in the empire.
I'd still like to consider the number of environmental preferences and metabolism types as those can be a significant boost to and empire and are one of the primary motivations for getting new species. It also works fluff-wise as more similar species should be "easier" to deal with.
Why not assign some fixed influence cost to each building (including shipyards and their upgrades) and let the equations in OP to make IP production more costly as the empire growths? Any objection to it?
I agree that that's simpler. But I think that shipyards might need to be a special case, as there is so much temptation to put them everywhere and they should be strategically valuable as a point of production.

Maybe something more like this: Usy=Ubc+K*(Nsy-1)

Where Usy is total shipyard upkeep for each shipyard, Ubc is the upkeep base cost, K is a constant, and Nsy is the number of shipyards you own.
All of my contributions should be considered released under creative commons attribution share-alike license, CC-BY-SA 3.0 for use in, by and with the Free Orion project.

User avatar
LienRag
Space Dragon
Posts: 300
Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 5:03 pm

Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#15 Post by LienRag »

It seems good even though I'm not sure that I can assert all the consequences of it.

Especially, will it allow for very varied choices about influence production/focus ?

I mean, right now one can¹ go full-throttle either Production (using the Automated History Analyzer to research for Robotic Hull and then swarming the galaxy) or Research (using AA bonus to produce a few high-tech ships that will crush technologically inferior empires).

So with the Influence mechanism, one should also be able to play either full-throttle influence (I guess that's what Influence projects are for ? I tried to read the relevant threads but there are so much different propositions that I'm lost) or zero-Influence.

For example, a player with good tactical skills and a good pilots specie facing opponents with poor pilots and low personal tactical skills should be able to have no planet turned on Influence focus and still win.
Obviously it needs to make his Empire extremely vulnerable in the process, so that if his opponents are able to muster just enough tactical abilities to delay his onslaught, they'll be able to counterattack on the influence level and leave his Empire in tatters.

In other words, when Oberlus says that
Oberlus wrote: Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:58 pm the system must ensure that the ones with more power are slowed down.
I agree with him, but the "slowing down" should be more strategical (e.g. "it would be a good idea to raise your influence production else you'll get huge weaknesses appearing in your Empire that other players can use against you") than mathematical ("sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that").



¹Not saying that it's necessarily a good strategy, but it's definitely a possible one

Post Reply