DESIGN: Buildings / Build Queues / Infrastructure

Past public reviews and discussions.
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Geoff the Medio
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#331 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jun 20, 2004 2:13 am

Irregardless of the nature of the limits, or lack thereof, on pooled spending at a particular world, I think some sort of penalty for switching focus would be a good idea. I propose something similar to the following...

The penalty for switching focus takes the form of a temporary loss of production over several turns. The duration and severity of the penalty depend on the level of infrastructure on the world (a single value?) and the type of focus change in question. The penalty decays from a relatively large amount right after the focus change, down to no penalty.

Type of focus change refers to whether the change is in the primary focus or the secondary focus, whether the old and new focii are specialized or balanced, whether both primary and secondary focii are changing and, if both focii are changing, whether the change in one or both partly offset the change in the other.

A simple penalty that depends on infrastructure level for severity and rate of decay (relative) would be to have the penalty act as a % loss on the output of each resource that is affected by the change in focus. This penalty would drop by X% every turn after the focus change, where X is a constant. Thus the initial severity of the penalty is directly proportional to the duration. The penalty's initial (maximum) value would be Y%, where Y is some function of the infrastructure level. More infrastructure has more "production inertia" so is harder to switch to producing something else.

Preferably, but not necessarily, the % penalty for each type of resource could different. The penalty could depend on the degree to which the production of each resource is changed by the change in focus. However, even if the penalty isn't different for each resource, the total penalty should be greater for switching from, for example, reasearch/research to mining/mining, compared to the penalty for switching from balanced/balanced to balanced/farming. The former is a complete economic overhaul, while the latter is a minor tweaking.

As usual, race or tech effects could change the magnitude(s) of the penalties and its rate(s) of decay.

Is this reasonable sounding, or am I getting too complicated again?

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Krikkitone
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#332 Post by Krikkitone » Sun Jun 20, 2004 9:48 pm

I think focus is best set as a what the world develops towards.

Essentially if a certain Food focused world produced
9 Food and 2 Minerals

changing ito to Mineral focused shouldn't change Anything instantly (except for scraspping buildings only allowed on Food Focused worlds)
BUT it would mean that each turn the amount of Food produced would decline and the Minerals produced would Increase..until they were at their 'final' or target values of
3 food and 6 Minerals

Now the 'cost' involved should be the same as that of developing Infrastructure in the first place. The New 'Focus changed' Infrastructure will have to be built while the 'old Focus Infrastructure' will be scrapped. [essentially requiring a pause in Infrastructure growth while the world readjusts, or investment beyond normal levels]

The key point I think is having 5 Infrastructure ratings, that way Focus can be a relative value of each one. Ones that are too low get built up and ones that are too high either stop growing until the others have caught up or start scrapping once the max is reached (ie 100% of the total allowed infrastructure of whatever measure that is whether it is a tech/size invariant % rating or a value dependent on technology and population)

Essentially I'd say for a % Infrastructure model each Resource gets 5%, a Minor Focus adds 25% [5% to all 5 if Balanced], a Major Focus adds 50% [10% to all 5 if Balanced].

This gives the switching penalty as more of an emergent property than a directly calculated effect. (it would be greatest on worlds that were already fully developed and greatest for greater changes (switching a Major Focus would be more than a Minor Focus and switching to or from a Balanced Focus would be less significant))

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Geoff the Medio
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#333 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jun 20, 2004 10:34 pm

Krikkitone: Sounds good to me, but I worry that five separate infrastructure ratings is too complicated / simulationist, given drek's comments.

One suggested modification: Focus-specific buildings don't require a particular focus, but rather require a minimum rating in their corresponding infrastructure rating. Thus if you change focus, you don't instantly lose any focus-specific buildings you had, but have some time to change your mind. More intersetingly, there could be buildings that require only a particular secondary focus, others that require both primary and secondary and some that need one or the other focii to be balanced or... well... focused. There could also be buildings that require a minimum value in two or more different infrastructure ratings.

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#334 Post by Aquitaine » Fri Jun 25, 2004 12:37 am

Just wanted to let everyone know that I should be dealing with this (public review and such) next week. Currently in the middle of moving/etc IRL and it's taken up all of my free time. But I want to get this sorted out and it's been too long already, so I will set aside some time next week to do it.
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#335 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Jun 30, 2004 11:36 pm

Brought back from Public Review II:
tzlaine wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
tzlaine wrote:I think this makes Drek's point. Doing this for dozens of local shipyards is micromanagement at its worst.
...?! how is this micromanagement? You only do it when you place an order or make a modification to an order. Micromanagement to me means dealing with lots of individual build queues and adding, removing and reordering things in them, and having to do this a lot.

(And who says there will be dozens of shipyards? They're supposed to be rare. (which can still be done without pooling))
What more is there to queue management than placing an order and/or modifying it?
Not much... But queue management doesn't mean micromanagement.
I thought you had conceded the point (as Aquitaine has) that local unpooled production queues will drastically increase the number of shipyards, when you mentioned this point as one of the "ok reasons" that "seems trival to you".
It seemed trivial because it could be dealt with other ways... like making the cost huge / time to build a shipyard very long, and thus the planet that builds one required to be specialized industrial, and thus needing lots of mining and farm worlds to support it.
If this is not the case, I'll state my reasoning again: With pooling, you have a small number of shipyards, each of which can accept a relatively large amount of your empire's PP; let's say you have 5 of them. That's five queues to deal with. Without pooling, you can only build ships at the comparatively low rate of a single system's PP, so you will of course try to make as many shipyards as you can to put as much of your empire's PP capacity to work as possible building ships. Let's say you have 25 of them. That's 25 queues to deal with. I feel that fewer queues is an inherently better situation.
A shipyard is not the same as a queue. There is only one queue... the global queue. A shipyard is a place where something in the queue can be built, which is not the same as another queue to manage. A single build order for a bunch of ships in the single global queue could be associated with several shipyards. In both pooled and local production, there is only the 1 queue, so neither is inherently better than the other in this respect.
tzlaine wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:Another issue for shared PP: You can build just as effectively at a shipyard that's very far from your core industrial worlds as you can in a core world shipyard.
This is true with or without pooling. Given enough time, you can build up a border world to be a ship-building powerhouse. With pooling, you still need to wait X turns spending Y/turn to get the shipyard, which should take a while. In particular, with something like a shipyard, the X should be fairly large, whether or not the Y is. With or without pooling, you should not be able to build a high-capacity shipyard at your border in a short period of time.
You ignored my comment at the end.
Geoff the Medio wrote:(yes the far removed shipyard would be an industrial world itself, and produce a lot itself without shared PP, but with shared PP, it would be just as effective as a core world and located far away, which is different)
The point is that the whole empire's production can be output very far from your core worlds. With local PP only, the production would be limited to what a single world can produce, which is much less of a balance issue.

It's also not just "at the border" that's a problem... you could do this anywhere in the galaxy.
Last edited by Geoff the Medio on Wed Jun 30, 2004 11:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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#336 Post by miu » Wed Jun 30, 2004 11:38 pm

Tzlaine>" Let's say you have 25 of them. That's 25 queues to deal with. I feel that fewer queues is an inherently better situation."

Werent there an idea to use areas/provinces to deal with these? - each province would have a UI to handle all the all the shipyardques on it's geometrical area. Also their production is pooled together here. Usage of provinces also restricts the borderworld-shipyeard issues, your border province would not have as big pp-pool to build from as your coreworlds.

I see the amount of shipyeads built as balancing issue. Upkeep costs (PP?) and and rising pp-costs of shipbuilding restrict the PP.
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#337 Post by vishnou00 » Thu Jul 01, 2004 5:24 am

A province is a group of planet, methinks.

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#338 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:14 am

Another attempt to bring extraneous discussion back here from buildings public review II...
Tyreth wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:So we need to make big limitations on the balancing that can be done on ships, so that the restriction that was put into place so that you can't build something too powerful too fast still works, so that the system of shared production doesn't lead to huge imbalances... This level of "fixing the fixes" seems to indicate that the system if flawed and that an alternative rule would work better.
It's not like that at all. It is the same kind of decision you make when you say, "Right, this ship has these stats, what is a reasonable price?". Then, you work out the cost.
My concern is that, in order to make the "X / turn for Y turns" system (designed to prevent death stars from being built in one turn) work for multiple smaller ships that take less time individually, you've added the requirement that small ships must be less effective for their cost than big ships. This decision is not based on "what is a reasonable pirce for a ship with these stats"... it is based on "the player can't be allowed to build a whole lot of little ships quickly, since that would circumvent our solution to prevent building too much too fast in one place"
The same thing exists for local build queues - you decide how much a ship should cost given its benefits.
I'm not arguing for individual planet build queues or against pooled production anymore. I've accepted pooled production, since that's what the concensus seems to want. What I'm saying now is that the suggested fix for imbalances due to pooled production, namely the "X / turn for Y turns" does not fully fix this problem, and that your "fix for the fix", namely that many small ships must be inherently less useful than a single large, is also flawed.

Note that I'm not arguing against using "X / turn for Y turns"... I want to add limits on spending at a particular shipyard to this system. I think this would achieve the goals of limiting imbalances caused by pooled production better than the alternative (weak ships suck)

I agree that, regardless of the system we use, we'll need to balance ships.
Tyreth wrote:There's nothing about my statements that states we can't make small hulls have an inherent advantage that larger hulls lack. Just a simple rule applies to all these decisions: you should get what you pay for. No more, no less.
If a small fighter has certain advantages, then his cost should reflect that. This is true regardless of our build system.
I didn't say you said that small ships couldn't have some advantages big ships lack, but you did say this:
Tyreth wrote:Regarding the 400 small fighters vs 1 ship:
If 400 ships take 4000RP and 2 turns, while a deathstar takes 4000RP and 10 turns, then the answer is obvious - a deathstar should be superior to 400 small fighters. We will balance the ships for the game we make.
This proves my point. Your system was designed to make the "4000RP" that go into building a death star take 10 turns, meaning 400RP/turn. If you can, instead, spend 2000RP/turn for 2 turns and get 400 small ships, then you've just avoided the limitation... now you can spend 2000RP/turn.

This isn't so bad in of itself, except when you consider balancing issues. It is, I believe, necessary to balance things primarily in terms of "RP" -> things with the same "RP" cost need to be about equally effective (not necessarily evenly matched in a one-on-one fight, but in general)

Turns can help a bit, but unless you need the ship right now, turns don't mean much. It needs to be equally "combat effective" to spend 4000RP, no matter what sort of ship class you spend it on. If both are 4000RP, but as you say "A deathstar" is "superior to 400 small fighters", then there's no, or very limited, opportunity to balance deathsars and small fighters. (ex: with a third option, "cruisers", that with "death stars" and "fighters" makes a rock/paper/scissors triangle. make one option better, and the balance system breaks down).

Thus, I suggest limiting PP / turn at a shipyard.
Last edited by Geoff the Medio on Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#339 Post by drek » Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:26 am

ou've added the requirement that small ships must be less effective for their cost than big ships. This decision is not based on "what is a reasonable pirce for a ship with these stats"
Not smaller ships by requirement. Lower tech ships.

A high tech small ship might still be viable, if the ratio is (for example) 10 to every one death star. The rational would be that the micro tech needed to fit high tech crap into the ship would cost a bundle.

Personally, I'm thinking big ships should be better. From an UI standpoint, it's easier to manipulate a few ships than a lot.

(actually, I think the smallest ship you should have to deal with on the UI would be something star destroyer sized or larger. Or we could go the Homeworld2 route and make smaller ships fleets that build together. So when you build "a frigate" you are actually building a unit consisting of 10 frigs.)

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#340 Post by vishnou00 » Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:52 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:since that's what the concensus seems to want.
The concensus being a solution to stop an eternal debate between a couple of people (tzlaine, drek...) and others (Geoff, me...). It seems no argument got through to either side, only that people give up their position (even if it hasen't been demonstrated as wrong) because they are fed up.

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#341 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:57 am

drek wrote:Not smaller ships by requirement. Lower tech ships.
That "small" ships cost the same "big" ships of the same tech level might work. It is a rather drastic limitation on the designs of ships, and is rather counter-intuitive, but doesn't have the obvious balance limitations. It might be better to just have all ships be the same size, and have them differ by other factors. Advanced tech ships could cost more, which would be justified by their better performance... A bit radical, but workable, I guess...

I had been thinking of hull size as just another factor in a "web" of balance in which the main purpose of reseraching new types of weapons, shields, hull types (etc) was to gain a new links in the web which changed the rock/paper/scissors geometry (giving new strategic possibilities), rather than inherently better options. (Refinement/miniaturization would lead to better versions of equipment you already had.) Hull sizes would have different costs, but this would be balanced by their "hit points" and such. If, instead, there are no hull sizes, or they cost the same... and, by extention, all equivalent tech components cost the same, then cost in production can't be used as a balancing mechanism. Again, radical and limiting, but maybe workable.

I'd like to reiterate that I was hoping to avoid the situation in which "big" hulls are always superior. Having "small" hulls be available and viable strategic options makes things more fun, I think. having big and small hulls also intuitively leads to different movement characteristics in the tactical battle view, which is important for immersion and fun.
(actually, I think the smallest ship you should have to deal with on the UI would be something star destroyer sized or larger.
That's a bit extreme... at the start of the game, I don't think anyone will expect to be able to make star destroyers right when they first achieve interstellar spaceflight. The actual size isn't so much the issue, as the different in scales of sizes and corresponding cost, and the corresponding difference in number of individually controllable ships this leads to.
Or we could go the Homeworld2 route and make smaller ships fleets that build together. So when you build "a frigate" you are actually building a unit consisting of 10 frigs.)
I don't like this... it breaks the conceptual difference between "fighters" which operate as a group, and "capital ships" which can and generally do function as independent units. Maybe a certain type of hull you could make would be a "swarm" that operates as a single unit, but if you get to the size of anything we normally consider to be a capital ship, I think it needs to be able to operate independently.

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#342 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Jul 02, 2004 4:03 am

vishnou00 wrote:It seems no argument got through to either side, only that people give up their position (even if it hasen't been demonstrated as wrong) because they are fed up.
I've basically conceded that the "no pooling, global queue" idea won't be accepted by the microphobes, no matter how much or well I or anyone else argues in favour of it. There are also enough of them that the "vote", were it taken, would be in their favour. Lastly, Aquatine seems to have been convinced, which seems to be pretty much the final word, unless almost everyone disagrees, which they don't.

As such, I'm trying to find some fixes to the flaws in the pooled production system, which I think would make it work.

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#343 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Jul 02, 2004 4:08 am

Sorry for the multiple posts... but the whole reason for this one is that I want to bring up a point that was ignored before, probably because I put it in a big long post with several other points.
Geoff the Medio wrote:There is also the issue of being able to have a shipyard very far from your core worlds output the whole production power of the empire. Building some (not a whole empire's worth) ships very far away is fine, but military strategy should involve moving ships to where you need them, not building them where you need them.
This was the other reason for limiting spending at a particular shipyard. I think I spelled it out a bit more elsewhere, but if there's an obvious flaw in my reasoning of the problem, I'd like to hear it... (the worry that it might cause some extra micro isn't a flaw in the problem, even if it is in the solution)

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#344 Post by drek » Fri Jul 02, 2004 4:18 am

Building a shipyard is an incredible effort, requiring massive PP for many turns. Through the early game, your homeworld will be the only place to dump ships.

Building a shipyard next to an enemy border is asking for trouble, as he could steal it through conquest. The only sane place to build such a valuable commodity would be in a well defended section of your empire.

Just like building rushes in Starcraft and C&C, if the enemy is dumb enough to let you build and keep a shipyard next door, he gets what he deserves: a neverending fleet at his front door.
There is also the issue of being able to have a shipyard very far from your core worlds output the whole production power of the empire. Building some (not a whole empire's worth) ships very far away is fine, but military strategy should involve moving ships to where you need them, not building them where you need them.
The shipyard arguement won't start in earnest until v.4. Until then, I wouldn't worry so much about it.
Last edited by drek on Fri Jul 02, 2004 4:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#345 Post by drek » Fri Jul 02, 2004 4:28 am

It seems no argument got through to either side, only that people give up their position (even if it hasen't been demonstrated as wrong) because they are fed up.
There's no way to demonstrate that your posistion is "wrong", though I personally believe that tzlaine has done a good job demonstrating his position is "better".

I was totally for local queues before encountering tzlaine's idea. I changed my mind. The point is: this isn't inflexible minds battering up against each other. If someone conjures a flaw in the global PP pool that I find convincing, I'll change my mind again.

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