Planet climates

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

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eleazar
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#61 Post by eleazar » Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:05 pm

Are Planet Types at all open to discussion?
I poked around and really didn't see anything other than a couple charts that was based on planet type concepts.

I have some ideas that would make things a little more complicated or a little simpler depending on your perspective, but hopefully more xenobiologically interesting. Additionally i'd do the planetary graphics to back up the idea. I don't want to spend the time refining and explaining the idea, if this aspect of the game is set in stone, or would effect too many other things if changed.

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Geoff the Medio
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#62 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:33 pm

eleazar wrote:Are Planet Types at all open to discussion?
It was dicussed and decided long ago, before I was here, but I've gotten the impression that any suggestions about tracking several separate ratings for planets in different categories (eg. heat, wetness, radioactivity, toxicity all on a 0 to 5 scale or somesuch) was considered and rejected. The basic structure of the Environmental Preference Wheel is likely set in stone. I believe there's some room for discussion of smoothing between adjacent environments to some degree, though I can't be sure of that really... This post by drek suggests that further details fall under discussion of Races, which appear on the Roadmap quite a while from now.

That said, feel free to brainstorm...

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#63 Post by eleazar » Mon Sep 25, 2006 12:09 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:... This post by drek suggests that further details fall under discussion of Races, which appear on the Roadmap quite a while from now.
Yeah, but we're doing planets & planet graphics now. If anything changes, (else what is the point of discussion?) graphics will probably be wasted, or simply not work as well. I realize that risk isn't entirely avoidable, but it seems like some basic decisions are needed before the galaxy/system view can properly be completed.

I'm just pointing out a problem i see— not that i expect to change your whole process.
Last edited by eleazar on Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#64 Post by Geoff the Medio » Mon Sep 25, 2006 12:55 am

It is somewhat of a chicken or egg problem... and I certainly don't want to discourage any potentially-useful art contributions.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to work out as many implementation as possible now (which are somewhat separate from higher-level game design), and do so as flexibly as possible. So if you have suggestions about how things should be set up in terms of scripting format or number and purpose of layers composited to make planet images, or how to transition between different environments when terraforming (which is reasonable to assume will happen) then please discuss them.

Note that the actual design document doesn't even say we'll have rotating planets... or even the word "sidepanel"; UI design details aren't really covered in it. So, while details of planet environments in the high-level strategic sense might not be finalized until races are discussed, if there's good reason to implement something a particular way now, we can.

Also, I'd rather get a lot of good graphics and end up wasting and/or replacing a few later than not have any at all. Code get rewritten or replaced, temporary design decisions are updated (and detailed brainstorming sidetracks are discarded), and similarly old art is inevitably discarded as well. It can be unfortunate, but everybody makes compromises for the good of the overall project, and the effort isn't wasted, even if the immediate results aren't in the final game.

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#65 Post by eleazar » Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:58 am

I may be suffereing from newbie enthusiasm. :? I'll spend a bit more time getting my bearings before offering non-graphical ideas. I've noticed that some of my ideas have already been discussed.

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#66 Post by eleazar » Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:24 am

Ok, i've done some more reading, and have scrapped some ideas that weren't consistant with the KISS approach that the finished aspects of the game seem to potray.

Gaian Planets
I'd like to see "Gaian" indicated to the player as a planetary special, not as a different planet type. (Don't really care how the game keeps track of the info.) It would work like this:

You catch your enemy, the radiation-loving Zug by suprize and capture one of their star-systems. To your delight one of these planets has the "Gaian" special. Currently it is and looks like any other radiation planet (possibly with an additional UI indicator like this.) Once you colonize, it begins to terraform itself, one step per turn, towards your species' ideal planet. Each turn it's appearance alters accordingly, and in the sidebar it reports itself to be a different type of planet.

This IMHO emphasizes the coolness of the Gaian planet, by allowing you to watch it change rather than just have it instantly convenient for you.

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#67 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:40 am

eleazar wrote:Once you colonize, it begins to terraform itself, one step per turn, towards your species' ideal planet. [...] This IMHO emphasizes the coolness of the Gaian planet, by allowing you to watch it change rather than just have it instantly convenient for you.
Assuming we have player-operated terraforming technologies, I imagine these would operate similarly: each turn, the planet would move a bit towards your goal. So, this makes Gaia a self-terraforming planet type... which is certainly useful, but isn't as exciting as if the planet was or did something the player couldn't do him/herself anyway...

So there'd need to be some difference between what Gaia planets do, and regular terraforming.

Perhaps player-terraforming could operate by moving the "current environment" of the planet away from its "natural environment" a bit every turn, with the rate slowing as you get current farther from natural, and perhaps with limits on how far you can take a planet's current away from natural. If you stopped maintaining terraforming, then the current would regress back towards its natural environment.

Gaia planets however would instantly change it's natural environment to whatever suits the race living on it, and its current would then degress from its initial current towards its new natural, as if you'd stopped paying to maintain a planet you'd terraformed away from its natural.

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#68 Post by eleazar » Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:47 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:So there'd need to be some difference between what Gaia planets do, and regular terraforming.
Presumably "manual" terraforming is an expensive time consuming undertaking. From what i've read (and common sense) you don't just land on a planet and change it from toxic to swamp in one turn (except perhaps with late game tech.) Gaian planets on the other hand would go 1/9th around the EP wheel per turn for free, automatically. From colonization to perfect planet in 4 turns or less. I call that different.
Geoff the Medio wrote:Perhaps player-terraforming could operate by moving the "current environment" of the planet away from its "natural environment" a bit every turn, with the rate slowing as you get current farther from natural, and perhaps with limits on how far you can take a planet's current away from natural. If you stopped maintaining terraforming, then the current would regress back towards its natural environment.
Step back and try to see the big picture. What's currently in the design documents obviously been intended to be a extremely simple representation of planets*. Sheesh, we have 1 meter for "infrastructure" but you want to record and display the planets original type, and it's current type, the cost of maintenance, and while in transition the percents (i suppose) it is between two different planetary types.

* It's not the way i would have done it, but it's imporant that a game be a consistant whole. Also i'd like to see this game done in the next few years, you are not only proposing more minutia for the players, but more work for the programmers.

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#69 Post by Daveybaby » Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:06 am

Automatically self-terraforming planets? Hmmm... sounds more the realm of fantasy than science fiction to me. Are they going to automagically terraform to suit whatever race settles there? Eeesh.

The way i'd always envisaged gaias is as the perfect planet for your species, and your species only. For example race1 and race2 might both have terran planets as their ideal 'standard' planet, but a gaia for each race would be a slightly different refinement of the terran planet. This would involve things like optimisation to ideal temperatures etc.

So race1 finds a terran planet, and has the technology to terraform it to a gaia. To race2 (and every other race) it still looks like a bog standard terran (despite race1's optimisations it's still within bounds of a normal terran planet), but to race1 its a paradise. So if race2 then obtains the planet from race1 by whatever means, they will have to terraform it into their idea of a gaia, after which it will once again look like a bog standard terran to race1.

And obviously some races gaias might be an optimised desert planet, or ocean planet, or whatever.

So in general you would have to terraform a planet to a gaia condition, but occasionally you would find planets which are already there as a planetary special.

Note that being a gaia doesnt take the planet out of the EP wheel, just optimises what's there for your species and your species only.

[edit] jeebus - i'm repeating myself. Already proposed this in this very thread :roll:, although i guess i can be forgiven for forgetting what i'd posted 3 years ago. Bloody hell this thread's been going on a long time.
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#70 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:42 am

Daveybaby wrote:Automatically self-terraforming planets? Hmmm... sounds more the realm of fantasy than science fiction to me.
It doesn't strike me as completely implausible... technobabble could be written. But I am a bit wary of the pace suggested:
eleazar wrote:Gaian planets on the other hand would go 1/9th around the EP wheel per turn for free, automatically. From colonization to perfect planet in 4 turns or less.
That fast and it might as well change instantly... as there's unlikely to be much strategic significance to a 4 turn delay.
The way i'd always envisaged gaias is as the perfect planet for your species, and your species only. For example race1 and race2 might both have terran planets as their ideal 'standard' planet, but a gaia for each race would be a slightly different refinement of the terran planet.
That's a bit different from the Gaian description in the design document:
...sentient planets designed by long-forgotten ancient creators to reshape themselves to the whims of their inhabitants.
However I quite like it actually... Presumably the homeworld of most races would be Gaian for them by default. Terraforming other worlds to Gaian would be a distinct action and research goal from terraforming to the equivalent generic planet type.
[edit] jeebus - i'm repeating myself. Already proposed this in this very thread :roll:, although i guess i can be forgiven for forgetting what i'd posted 3 years ago. Bloody hell this thread's been going on a long time.
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#71 Post by Daveybaby » Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:00 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:It doesn't strike me as completely implausible... technobabble could be written.
...
That's a bit different from the Gaian description in the design document:
...sentient planets designed by long-forgotten ancient creators to reshape themselves to the whims of their inhabitants.
Yeah... forgot about that bit.

Actually i guess the stuff i'm describing isnt really a gaia in the 'old-school' sense of the word, whereas the stuff in the DD is more in keeping with that idea. I was more taking the Moo1/Moo2 use of gaia, i.e. 'a really really good planet for settling'. I guess you could replace the word 'gaia' in my proposal with the word 'optimal' and it would make a lot more sense, and could fit in alongside the DD gaia stuff.
Presumably the homeworld of most races would be Gaian for them by default. Terraforming other worlds to Gaian would be a distinct action and research goal from terraforming to the equivalent generic planet type.
Actually i was thinking not. For example i wouldnt think of earth as an optimal environment for humans, at least, certainly not over its whole surface. This could work either way though, i guess it depends on how we imagine the variability in terran worlds etc.
Sure you're looking at the right thread? This one's only a year and a half old...
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#72 Post by eleazar » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:53 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:But I am a bit wary of the pace suggested:
eleazar wrote:Gaian planets on the other hand would go 1/9th around the EP wheel per turn for free, automatically. From colonization to perfect planet in 4 turns or less.
That fast and it might as well change instantly... as there's unlikely to be much strategic significance to a 4 turn delay.
I don't claim strategic significance. I want the slight delay for dramatic value. Gaian planets are rare and cool. The fact that they terraform themselves should be empahsized so it can be savored, rather than happening so quickly that a player might not even notice.

I can't find the reference again, but IIRC Gaian worlds are better than Home worlds, (i.e Gaian supports 50 population) which are the best of Optimal worlds.

If humans found a Gaian planet i would image it would become much like Earth, but without the hurricanes, volcanos, droughts, and huge nearly unihabitable sections around the poles. In other words, much better than any planet naturally could be.

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#73 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:59 pm

eleazar wrote:I don't claim strategic significance. I want the slight delay for dramatic value. Gaian planets are rare and cool. The fact that they terraform themselves should be empahsized so it can be savored, rather than happening so quickly that a player might not even notice.
I guess a self-terraforming planet just isn't that exciting for me, if it's not strategically relevant. Your conception of Gaia planets are essentially a bit less desirable than a planet of your preferred type (it's a more appealing target for other races than a planet they can't use but you can). Daveybaby's version would make Gaia planets actually better than most planets of your preferred type, which is more cool for me.

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#74 Post by eleazar » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:23 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:Your conception of Gaia planets are essentially a bit less desirable than a planet of your preferred type (it's a more appealing target for other races than a planet they can't use but you can)
My conception is essentially what's in the design document, with the added detail of the non-instantanious optimization.

I think there's gameplay value in having at a few planets that are highly desirable for everyone.

Edit: Yeah! i've finally evolved into a space squid! :D

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#75 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Sep 29, 2006 3:38 am

eleazar wrote:My conception is essentially what's in the design document, with the added detail of the non-instantanious optimization.
Not quite... the DD has gaians as better than the preferred planet type for all races. Your gaians were, I believe, equally as good as the preferred planet type of any race.
I think there's gameplay value in having at a few planets that are highly desirable for everyone.
A reasonable point... I suppose we could have both self-terraforming worlds and the Daveybaby version of optional planets, as the two concepts are somewhat independent.

For Daveybaby's optimal planets, there could be one or two specials that only appear on planets of a particular environment type, which act like subclasses or specializations of that type. Most races, and most things that depend on environment wouldn't care if the special is present, but for a race that is inclined towards a particular special, it would make the planet better (ie. "optimal" instead of "good" or "superb"). The specials wouldn't need to be tied to a particular race, and a special could appear in the game regardless of whether a race exists that likes it.

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