What to do with the stockpiling techs

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Ophiuchus
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What to do with the stockpiling techs

#1 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:02 am

I agree with those who voiced opinions about the stockpiling techs after playtesting thats its best to ignore them.

The techs (stockpile focus) work the way they do to enforce some properties/requirements:
  • access to using the stockpile feature without stockpiling species
  • a way to scale use capacity with empire size
  • stockpile use capacity should necessitate strong commitment
In design terms i would say the requirements are fulfilled but the commitment necessary is crippling high. At the moment they are the only way for somebody who mistakenly put PP into the stockpile to extract those again. But it usually makes a lot more sense instead of going to stockpiling focus to stick to production focus as that creates more PP then you would be able to extract.
So I think for storage (waste not want not) the techs dont cut it.

The other use i can see in emergency if your parts of your empire get disconnected and you need to temporarily boost the production there.
Usually the local production by using the stockpile saves you a few turns compared to producing ships somewhere else and sending them. Of course you could produce a lot of comsats. Or to keep on producing if your important shipyard got disconnected. I guess the techs help there but I didnt experience that. Maybe the multiplayer gamers have seen that? The emergency cases seem rather a misuse of the stockpile.

I also dont like that if you suddenly need a lot of stockpiling capacity you need to switch a lot of planets to a different focus and afterwards switch them back.

One thing i was thinking about is fiddling with the change rate to encourage long term use with the stockpile focus. Instead of increasing by one per turn, it could start low and double each turn, e.g. 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, 1.6, 3.2, 6.2, 12.4 (exponentional growth breaking even with linear growth after 7 turns) or instead of doubling, use fibonacci growth increase. This would mean that sudden switching to stockpile focus would be very expensive.

Maybe it would be ok to increase the maximum use limit if the use growth is nerfed. Then it would need long-term commitment but would be more useful.

Other ideas welcome.
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Oberlus
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#2 Post by Oberlus » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:53 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:Other ideas welcome.
- Reduce stockpile output limit so that stockpiling focus (+3 per planet) gives some actual utility (and therefore the techs that unlock that focus). But how to do that without crippling Sly?
- Or better, make the stockpiling focus also pop-dep from start (+0.2*pop or sth like that).

This could make worth using stockpiling focus for non-stockpiling species when your supply chains are disrupted.

- Introduce stockpiling input limit and make techs boost that input limit? How to do that without incurring in another balance hell?

the commitment necessary is crippling high
I would say the tech requirements are not very high but the benefits you get from them are close to none.

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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#3 Post by Dilvish » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:36 pm

At the risk of posting Vezzra-bait :lol: , I'll mention a few ideas:

As a broad-scale thing, I think that for an empire that had researched all stockpiling techs (either 3 like now or maybe adding a fourth), every one of their planets, even with just Average Stockpiling species and without needing to set focus, should be generating at least as much stockpile capacity as the Great Stockpiling species can generate from the get-go.

I think the techs should do a bit more than they do now--, some could add a small amount of always-on stockpiling ability without needing to change focus, and the one(s) tied to focus change could also include a bit of a fixed boost as well as a per-pop boost. So perhaps something like

1) 1st tech gives a stockpile focus that adds a flat 2 plus a per-pop bonus equal to 50% or 100% of current average stockpile rate. So maybe not so useful at a big developed planet, but at a young starting colony they could be usefully focused on processing incoming material from the parent empire.

2) 2nd tech gives a Stockpile Logistics Center, buildable only at the Capital, which grants some max output bonus (maybe a flat bonus, or based on total colonies or total pop, or total Industry)

3) 3rd tech doubles the strength of the stockpiling focus

4) 4th tech gives an always-on per-pop stockpiling boost equal to the diff between Great and Average stockpiling.

Vezzra, this is somewhat premised on my current assessment that the default average-stockpiling levels are useful simply for alleviating the semi-micromangement headaches of small-waste decisions, and that increasing stockpiling ability beyond that opens up significant strategic flexibility for which it is fine and appropriate to charge RP. But I tend to think that these same techs could be appropriate in a starting situation which you have been advocating where initially empires can only have one or the other supply distribution approaches available (in which case probably the first tech, or maybe second, would allow an empire to use both).

I realize that you are not currently convinced of that assessment of the current situation, but hopefully we can have some discussion of whether these possible techs would be likely to improve or worsen either of (i) a situation of the nature as I am characterizing things currently, without needing to agree whether that characterization truly accurately characterizes the current situation, and (ii) a situation like the starting framework you propose. So leaving these both as theoretical design discussions without need for significant mooring in current play experience. :D
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#4 Post by Oberlus » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:10 pm

Dilvish wrote:techs should do a bit more than they do now--, some could add a small amount of always-on stockpiling ability without needing to change focus
That would indeed encourage me to get some IS techs (pretty early for Sly focused on distributed expansion, and also for non-IS species when all important techs are already getting the RPs they need).
I like all suggestions on that list.

default average-stockpiling levels are useful simply for alleviating the semi-micromangement headaches of small-waste decisions, and that increasing stockpiling ability beyond that opens up significant strategic flexibility for which it is fine and appropriate to charge RP
Careful here? If I understood you here and Geoff warnings on initial development state of the IS (can't find now the relevant posts to quote, and memories are sometimes wrong), this could be one of those cases where one would devote in-game resources to avoid some micromanagement and thus a no-no for FO. In fact, it seems I am one of those players that is happily micromanaging to avoid spending any RP on IS techs and get some advantage over those who perceive some headache on that micromanaging.

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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#5 Post by Ophiuchus » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:01 pm

Oberlus wrote:
default average-stockpiling levels are useful simply for alleviating the semi-micromangement headaches of small-waste decisions, and that increasing stockpiling ability beyond that opens up significant strategic flexibility for which it is fine and appropriate to charge RP
Careful here? If I understood you here and Geoff warnings on initial development state of the IS (can't find now the relevant posts to quote, and memories are sometimes wrong), this could be one of those cases where one would devote in-game resources to avoid some micromanagement and thus a no-no for FO. In fact, it seems I am one of those players that is happily micromanaging to avoid spending any RP on IS techs and get some advantage over those who perceive some headache on that micromanaging.
I think we created Buridan's micromanagement paradox here. We cant distinguish between the two options "IS creates a negligible micromanagement issue" and "IS solves a negligible micromanagement issue" and we will have to discuss it for eternity :lol:
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#6 Post by Oberlus » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:09 pm

Indeed :lol:

I would ignore all that and go for the relevant point here: make the techs more interesting. Divilsh's ideas are a good starting (and hopefully final) point.

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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#7 Post by Vezzra » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:01 pm

Dilvish wrote:At the risk of posting Vezzra-bait :lol:
You didn't really think you can throw out comments like this and expect me not to bite, did you? :mrgreen:
As a broad-scale thing, I think that for an empire that had researched all stockpiling techs (either 3 like now or maybe adding a fourth), every one of their planets, even with just Average Stockpiling species and without needing to set focus, should be generating at least as much stockpile capacity as the Great Stockpiling species can generate from the get-go.
Can't really comment on the scale/numbers, but as a general rule the RP cost need to be properly balanced against the benefits of techs (ok, I know, who would have thought... ;)). Furthermore, more expensive but more beneficial techs are probably more interesting than cheap ones which don't give you much.

Judging by the feedback I read so far it seems that the IS techs aren't overly expensive, but also don't offer that much, so the incentive to research them isn't really there. So I agree, making them provide more stockpiling capability so it actually makes sense to get them sounds reasonable, however, the RP costs must be adjusted accordingly.

It seems the difficult conundrum here is to make them sufficiently powerful so they open up alternative strategies ("distributed empires"), without diminishing the importance of the supply based PP distribution too much, or making them too powerful for the purpose of circumventing blocked supply lines.

I guess the best approach would be to minimize the base stockpiling bonus (just enough so you still get the micromanagement-alleviating effect, assuming your assessment of that effect is right for now), and make the stockpiling boni provided by the stockpile focus stronger. That way you get better stockpiling capabilities, but at least not without serious committment/investment.

Needs to be carefully balanced of course, if the RP costs are too high and the boni provided by the stockpile focus too low, those investements won't be worth it, even with improved stockpile boni. But if we want to get feedback from a broader player base, we probably need to err a bit on the too much IS capability side for 0.4.8, so people are actually going to use it. We're going to have to go through several rebalancing passes anyway.
Vezzra, this is somewhat premised on my current assessment that the default average-stockpiling levels are useful simply for alleviating the semi-micromangement headaches of small-waste decisions
For the sake of this discussion here that's fine. I don't intend to challenge that premise on every corner. ;)
and that increasing stockpiling ability beyond that opens up significant strategic flexibility for which it is fine and appropriate to charge RP.
I think we're in full agreement here.
But I tend to think that these same techs could be appropriate in a starting situation which you have been advocating where initially empires can only have one or the other supply distribution approaches available (in which case probably the first tech, or maybe second, would allow an empire to use both).
Well, once these two approaches are mutually exclusive choices, things need to be completely rebalanced anyway. If your only way to distribute PP is via the IS, the stockpiling capability, or more precise, the extraction rate needs to be sufficiently high that it doesn't cripple your empire.

However, that approach isn't for 0.4.8, but for the medium to long term future. We'd need Policy Cards first anyway.

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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#8 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:26 pm

Vezzra wrote:It seems the difficult conundrum here is to make them sufficiently powerful so they open up alternative strategies ("distributed empires"), without diminishing the importance of the supply based PP distribution too much, or making them too powerful for the purpose of circumventing blocked supply lines.
For the moment distributed empires will only work if you have a lot of GREAT_ or GOOD_STOCKPILING population. Thats ok.

Blocking supply lines also block all that supply line bonus regardless of stockpile. Think thats ok as well.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#9 Post by Oberlus » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:55 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:For the moment distributed empires will only work if you have a lot of GREAT_ or GOOD_STOCKPILING population. Thats ok.
That's my experience too. For example, I can't make distributed empires with humans until I conquer some Sly (never tried to do it with techs and without Sly, but numbers seem to indicate that strategy would be always worse than normal playing). Note also that GOOD_STEALTH seems necessary to make it viable against AI (I guess it is not viable against human players), otherwise you would be figthing too many fronts or require better than possible planetary defenses...

Hmmm, idea for species: average (or worse) stealth + great stockpiling + great defense troops + great planetary defenses (a trait that does not exist yet). Edit: plus some bad traits too, probably bad supply.

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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#10 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:11 pm

So I'm trying once more to write down whats bad about the stockpile focus approach:
  • WASTE-IF-UNUSED: if you are not using the stockpile the stockpile focus is just wasting resources (so one incentive for en/disabling it instead of strategic decision);
  • FAST-CHANGE-MICROMANAGEMENT: The fast way to change extraction limit is to set a lot of planets to stockpile focus (and switch them back afterwards)
What is good about the stockpile focus:
  • setting the focus means some commitment
  • can scale with number of planets / size of empire
  • you can en/disable it
Against FAST-CHANGE-MICROMANAGEMENT one can restrict the number of places one may set the focus (only once per empire/capital:, once per homeworld/species,...) or one can make the focus switching more expensive like i already suggested. If one restricts the number of places, one has to fix the empire scaling.

Against WASTE-IF-UNUSED, actually I dont know what one could do. Maybe giving extra options for use like stuff you can only pay/build using the stockpile? E.g. pay for recon missions on planets which are not supply connected? Or even outposts?

Stockpile focus is a lot worse than industry focus for most situations local production makes a lot more sense even if planets are disconnected. So this is basically like it was before the stockpile. But this is a balancing issue and not an inherent problem of the focus approach.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#11 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:22 pm

Oberlus wrote:Hmmm, idea for species: average (or worse) stealth + great stockpiling + great defense troops + great planetary defenses (a trait that does not exist yet). Edit: plus some bad traits too, probably bad supply.
How about non-stealthy, great stockpiling, good pilots, bad industry, narrow environment. (Maybe good population if also bad research)

Maybe such a species would be using the stockpile to help expansion, building ships in front of supply or in enemy territory to get a timing edge. I dont think that its necessarily necessary to make supply bad if giving good stockpile.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#12 Post by Ophiuchus » Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:08 pm

Ok I made a PR-2072 .

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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#13 Post by Dilvish » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:38 am

Ophiuchus wrote:Ok I made a PR-2072 .
Could you explain a bit more of your thinking about this implementation of slow-stockpile-meter-growth? Since in most cases it seems to me that the stockpile meter grows pretty slowly anyways, the times that this limitation would matter seem a bit rare to me and I'm not sure we'd really want to penalize those situations. I'm a bit averse to deviating from the default-meter-growth of 1/turn unless there is a particularly good reason to do so.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#14 Post by Ophiuchus » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:15 am

@dilvish
Without stockpile focus the max stockpile usually goes up as a fraction of population growth on every planet. So the slow growth is as fast as the fast growth.

The slow growth is there to penalize shortterm focus switching. And the fast growth is there to encourage keeping the focus.
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Re: What to do with the stockpiling techs

#15 Post by Dilvish » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:58 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:The slow growth is there to penalize shortterm focus switching. And the fast growth is there to encourage keeping the focus.
Just to doublecheck (I don't think this is the case), are you thinking that fast focus switching needs more of a penalty currently? If so, please give an example with numbers.

Or is it that you are wanting to make a more valuable tech providing the fast growth here and then felt that needed to be counterbalanced somehow to prevent fast switching?

In either case, I'm not really seeing how the slow default growth rate actually discourages fast switching, could you explain that more?
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