The Way It Is:
"Optimal" is better than "Superb." Personally i think this is a little confusing because "optimal" has a stronger denotation than "superb" but a weaker connotation. I would replace the term "optimal" with "perfect". Your unmodified homeworld is only "Superb," though the Homeworld special more than makes up for the difference. Unmodified Gaian planets usually can usually support +5 population relative to normal planets of your EP. The description makes it sound better than your homeworld, but it is not.v.3 reqs wrote:Gaia worlds are, despite the name, not exclusively paradise for Terran dwellers. They are sentient planets designed by long-forgotten ancient creators to reshape themselves to the whims of their inhabitants. Exceedingly rare, extremely valuable-- some cultures worship Gaian planets as gods.
If the planet’s environment = the race’s EP then environmental conditions are Superb.
If the planet’s environment = Gaian then the environmental conditions are Optimal, regardless of EP.
Currently the graphics for Gaian worlds looks like a shinier version of a terrain world. While that makes some sense when everyone's EP is "terran," it will make no sense once aliens are implemented. Why would the inferno-dwelling Zugiboli be perfectly at home on a planet that looks like earth? If these things "reshape themselves to the whims of their inhabitants" then the Zugiboli should get an exceptionally nice inferno world.
It's been suggested that there be a Gaian type counterpart for each world type. However, as an artist i can say it's not going to be possible to make planet graphics that can intuitively be identified as extra-nice versions of barren, inferno, etc. planet types. Even the current Terran-Gaian graphics don't stand out much under the wrong color of sun. Gaian needs to be indicated another way. A surrounding haze of green nanitesis one possible visual distinguisher
So i'm proposing that "Gaian" cease to be a planet type and becomes a planetary special. (One advantage is the frequency of Gaians could be adjusted by changing the freqency of specials.) This would allow the Zugiboli's Gaian world to be labled "Infero, Gaian" and look like a regular inferno world, as it should. If Humans took it from the Zugiboli, it would become "Terrain, Gaian" after it terraformed itself to human specifications. Essentially the "Gaian" special is free terraforming, and the "Optimal" rating.
However, for dramatic purposes i would like to see, non-instant terraforming. Once a new species colonizes, the planet begins to terraform itself, one step per turn, towards the EP. Each turn it's appearance alters accordingly, and in the sidebar it reports itself to be a different type of planet, because it is. There should be a sitrep message.
The delay is 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. It would take 4 turns for the planet the humans took from the Zugiboli to become Terran.
The delay doesn't hurt colonization much. If fact if the rating is always "Optimal" humans would not be negatively effected by a Gaian in an inferno state. A possible bit of tweaking is instead of making Gaians automatically "optimal", they could be one step better on the Terrible <-> Optimal scale than a planet of that type would normally be.