TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#16 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:49 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:12 pm
Note that with "bypass" I refer to the unlocking of the tier via the previous tier apps, which effectively renders useless to research that tier theory and so it should appear as highligthed (researched) although no RPs were invested on it.
What I'm suggesting is that it's a bit unclear that tier 3 is unlocked by getting some number of techs shown within tier 2. It might be clearer to make progress towards "finishing" a tier be related to the things in/on that tier, whether that be progress in researching the tier directly, or researching techs displayed within or under the tier.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#17 Post by The Silent One » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:09 pm

Geoff The Medio wrote:I'd still keep the option to just spend research points to unlock a tier, without having to research the previous tier's applications. I'd probably balance this by having it cost about as much as researching all the required applications to unlock the tier, but having a low minimum research time, so the tier can be unlocked faster if an empire has very high RP output.
Rather than having a clickable, researchable tier(/theory) tech, I would suggest to add apps that only take 1-2 turns to research and don't have an acutal effect, but do count as progress to unlock the next tier. To make the naming more clear, I would differentiate tiers, which are the big boxes at the top that need to be unlocked to gain access to their items, from apps with their refinements below them, and theories, which are the mentioned apps without effect that only take 1-2 turns to research. Theories could maybe be shown below the tier box, but above the apps, but otherwise look like the apps. There could be only one or two theories per tier, so that you need to research at least one or two apps to unlock the next tier.
My reasoning for tiers not being directly researchable is that this way, there would be only one consistent way to unlock them (to research items from the previous tier); rather than having two methods (researching apps, or researching the tier directly).
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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#18 Post by Oberlus » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:35 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:49 pm
What I'm suggesting is that it's a bit unclear that tier 3 is unlocked by getting some number of techs shown within tier 2. It might be clearer to make progress towards "finishing" a tier be related to the things in/on that tier, whether that be progress in researching the tier directly, or researching techs displayed within or under the tier.
Ah, I think I undestand now.

So, in the (previous) mockups, it is not clear if the theory that unlock the apps for tier X is in the "column" tier X or in the previus one (tier X-1). I actually understood that it is actually tier X, and that this implied the tickboxes within a theory were referring to the apps on the previous column. And it seems it could be better it both (the theory that can be "bypassed" and the apps that can trigger that bypass) are in the same column. Right?
Agreed!

Let's see if this could work:

TIER 1 TECHS, available from start
- Theory (no effect appart from unlocking next tier)
- App a
- App b
- App c

TIER 2 TECHS, unlocked for research once T1's theory or 2 of T1's Apps are researched
- Theory (no effect appart from unlocking next tier)
- App a
- App b
- App c

So, at start, all four techs of Tier 1, all displayed in the same column, will be the same color tone: available for research (unlocked).
And all four techs of Tier 2, in the next column, will be the tone for: locked.
If you research the theory of Tier 1, it will appear with tone "researched", and all the techs in column 2 will change to unloked.
If instead you research first one app of Tier 1, one tickbox of the same tier theory will be checked, and with the second Tier 1 app the second and last tickbox will be checked. So both apps and the theory of that tier will be researched, and again all the techs in column 2 will change to unlocked.


Now the questions about restrictions (still only about unlocking, not cost reductions) comming from different branches (or no branches, like an species or building restriction).
I guess some apps of each tier could have one restriction comming from outside its branch (with the special symbols next to the app slot).
If it is a tech restriction it should be from a lower tier (seems obvious to me but can elaborate if not clear).
I'm pretty sure its probably better if it is just one extern restriction for apps, and allow more than one only for theories, because thy will have the tickboxes to show them.

What I'm not certain is if one such restriction could be non-mandatory, so that it can be ignored if other conditions are met.
In a theory as devised up to here an external restriction could be mandatory or complementary to the unlocking apps of its tier: the tickbox for such extern could show (somehow, maybe with its frame) if this restriction is mandatory or if it just means that one of the required apps from this tier could be replaced with this external restriction. Appart from mandatory and complementary, we could have... another bypass?

Would it be acceptable that a theory becomes researched (ergo the apps of next tier becomes unlocked) by meeting an external restriction and not the ones from its branch? I'm not sure it would be a crazy idea... it would enable way more diversity of strategies: you get to tier 3 research apps by getting some techs from tier 2-3 industry and growth branches.
Main drawback could be more difficult balancing, but it would be pretty similar to what will be necessary for unlocking within single branches.

Regarding apps, up to this point (in this review of the new proposal) you can unlock apps in two different ways (some apps or one theory). FOCS-wise they will be being unlocked in one way: when previous tier theory is researched (i.e. the FOCS requisites will list just the theory), and would be in the theory where the magic of different unlocking options is done, by turning it into researched (via GiveEmpireTech) if a number of its tier apps are researched. I guess this will require some FOCS macros, somewhere, to be executed at some time, to check when a valid combination of researched apps enable the bypass of another tech, with at least one macro for each theory that can be bypassed. An extra mandatory requirement will be represented by just another tech name in that prerequisites list.

Complementary restrictions for apps makes no sense unless we allow apps to be unlocked the same way theories are; I'll assume this is not necessary.

A "bypass" restriction for apps, on the other hand, makes sense to me: to get access to just a certain tech from a given branch (and nothing else in this branch-tier) by researching apps/theories of different branches (probably better if must be the same tier, so you can't unlock apps by researching apps of lower tier of different branches). Again, I guess that could be done with no changes to the FOCS engine, by making one "bypass" macro for each of these apps with external "bypass" restriction, as sketched with theories. I assume that is doable but prone to maintaining errors (having the definition of requisites of some techs spread over pairs of FOCS files), unless the bypass effects can be written in the same tech file. Can it?

If not possible, would it be possible to change FOCS engine to allow for more complex representation of prerrequisites right within the tech definition?

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#19 Post by The Silent One » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:46 pm

New mockup to (hopefully) clarify the concept from above.
Oberlus wrote:If you research the theory of Tier 1, it will appear with tone "researched", and all the techs in column 2 will change to unloked.
Or alternatively, have the theory just check one tickbox!?
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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#20 Post by Ophiuchus » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:42 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:46 pm
New mockup to (hopefully) clarify the concept from above.
Oberlus wrote:If you research the theory of Tier 1, it will appear with tone "researched", and all the techs in column 2 will change to unloked.
Or alternatively, have the theory just check one tickbox!?
Hm I could not understand from the picture if the tickboxes belong to the tier on the right or to the middle one.
Maybe could you move the checkboxes inbetween the tiers (where the arrow is)? So they are "in the way" to the next tier?
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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#21 Post by The Silent One » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:10 pm

Updated mockup below. Some explanations:

Caro symbol/"bonus": "bonus theory" will be granted on certain condition(s) (a high tier from a different research category has been researched, there's telepaths or a certain species in the empire etc.). Type of condition shown by icon on the right. Can't be researched. As with regular theories, no effect except unlocking next tier.

Arrow between middle and right tier: highlight means an app is researched that will help unlock next tier. Circle gives information about how many apps are required to unlock the next tier, and how many have already been researched.

Light scheme more consistent now: bright - done; moderately bright - available/unlockable; dark - not available.

[Edit]Mulling this over some more, conditions (circle on the right of theories/apps) could be used for any tech, not just bonus theories. And bonus theories (= theories with a condition) could be researched just like any ordinary theory, but maybe cheaper.[/Edit]
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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#22 Post by The Silent One » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:23 pm

Cleaned the mockup up, making better use of space.

Icon on the left of tech: tech type (theory; app: boost, app: ship part, app: building; refinement w/digit).
Icon below tech name: effects unlocked by tech.
Icon on the right: type of condition to unlock tech (species, other tech etc.) / turns needed to finish research of tech when researching.

Thoughts?
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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#23 Post by Oberlus » Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:45 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:23 pm
Thoughts?
I like it very much.
The thin-border square that encloses all the tier helps visualise it as a whole.

The circled icons on the right side of each tech, to indicate special prerequisites, I guess it can accept more than one? For techs that could require (e.g.) one tech from other category and one species in the empire.
But only one just in the border looks so nice that it feels bad to change that... Maybe you could recuperate the special symbols from the first (old) mockups? The ones that could appear in the right of techs for prerequisite techs from other categories. And reserve the circled icon on the left part of the tech for species and buildings.


My main concerns are about the theory/tiers/unlocking stuff.
I still think the best approach regarding theories (between not having anyone and having many of them, and the options in between) is to have one single theory for each tier of a branch, with the single "effect" of unlocking the next tier as a faster-but-less-rewarding way to get to next tier apps.
The Silent One wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:09 pm
Rather than having a clickable, researchable tier(/theory) tech, I would suggest to add apps that only take 1-2 turns to research and don't have an acutal effect, but do count as progress to unlock the next tier.
Your suggestion, I like it but not all of it. First, let me reword it in an example to make sure I understood it correctly:
For a tier that requires 4 apps to be unlocked (from say 6), you suggest to add 4 fast theories and treat them the same as the apps (so 10 apps to choose from). Thus you could get 3 apps and 1 theory, or any other combination, to unlock next tier.
I like from it the extra variability it brings: you don't have to choose between the single theory or the four apps to be efficient (because with the other system getting 2 apps and the theory is suboptimal). I really like this functionality over the 4 apps vs 1 theory approach.
But I really dislike the idea of having so many differentiated theories, ¡¡per each tier of each branch!!. Just thinking on all the fluff necessary makes me dizzy. Plus all the slots it needs. Not helpful for readability. Plus some players really dislike no-effect techs, and here we would be multipliying current numbers.

So... what about making the theory unique (per tier) but giving it levels (in the example, 4 levels), as in a refinement?
As per your suggestion, each refinement counts as an app to unlock nextr tier, and allows combinations of theory and apps to get to that.
But this way it's just one theory so we can use the tier main panel for the theory, replacing the tier label (save space). In fact, the theory can give name to the tier (less content to create).
Popups when hovering pointer and pedia pages when clicking on any of the icons and panels would explain anything that is not intuitive enough.

What do you think?

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#24 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:47 pm

Like that idea
so there is Tier, App, Refinements (of tiers and apps)

Apps and Refinements can be researched
Tiers are not researched, but are just unlocked

Apps and Refinements of Tiers contribute to opening the next Tier

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#25 Post by Oberlus » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:53 pm

Then, assuming a unique theory of a tier with the single effect of accelerating the unlocking of the next tier, once the next tier is unlocked there is no need to research that theory, and I think it should appear as researched/completed as soon as the next tier is unlocked to not confuse the player.
E.g.: assume in current tier you have 6 apps and the said theory, and to unlock next tier you need 4 "steps" (4 apps, or the whole theory, or 2 apps and half the theory, etc.), so the theory shows 4 levels of refinement to represent the 4 "steps". If you have researched 2 of the apps and 1 of the levels of the theory, the circle in the arrow will show the theory/tier is "3/4" completed, and researching another app or another level of the theory should unlock next tier and show the (previous) theory completed.

Regarding the use of this research panel, it should work in a very similar way to current tech tree, so you could
- left click on any tech (theory or app) to make the pedia page show its information.
- double click on any tech would add it to the end of research queue, as well as any other tech prerequisite (*).
- right click show the current popup with pedia and enqueue options.

(*) Unless there are non-researchable, unmet prerequesities like species? I guess it is best to allow the enqueue, the same way we allow to add a tech and its prerequisites, remove the prerequisites and see the tech in the queue labeled as "never".

Then, double-clicking on the theory/tier (the big panel naming each tier, that for me is just the theory tech) would add the theory to the queue... how many levels? I mean, would that enqueue the whole theory, all its steps/levels of refinement, or just one and require the player to re-enqueue it for every step?
I like much more the former: enqueue the "whole" theory tech, but keep it updated to represent the real completion, that is: if it is 4 steps and you already got 2 apps, the theory tech is already 2 steps completed even if no research has been actually invested on the theory.

I don't know if that would be a problem FOCS-wise.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#26 Post by The Silent One » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:51 am

Oberlus wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:45 pm
The circled icons on the right side of each tech, to indicate special prerequisites, I guess it can accept more than one? For techs that could require (e.g.) one tech from other category and one species in the empire.
Certainly. One method would be to (in the circle) show an icon indicating multiple conditions, with the mouse-over tooltip specifying the details.
Oberlus wrote:Maybe you could recuperate the special symbols from the first (old) mockups? The ones that could appear in the right of techs for prerequisite techs from other categories.
The current method to show conditions is better imo.
Oberlus wrote:So... what about making the theory unique (per tier) but giving it levels (in the example, 4 levels), as in a refinement?
That's a great idea. But, we might not necessarily always offer the same number of theory refinements as needed to unlock the next tier?
Oberlus wrote:But this way it's just one theory so we can use the tier main panel for the theory, replacing the tier label (save space).
I don't think so. That will only make the UI more confusing. Since it doesn't behave differently from them, I would place the theory among the apps.
Oberlus wrote:Then, assuming a unique theory of a tier with the single effect of accelerating the unlocking of the next tier, once the next tier is unlocked there is no need to research that theory, and I think it should appear as researched/completed as soon as the next tier is unlocked to not confuse the player.
Exactly.
Oberlus wrote:Regarding the use of this research panel, it should work in a very similar way to current tech tree, so you could
- left click on any tech (theory or app) to make the pedia page show its information.
- double click on any tech would add it to the end of research queue, as well as any other tech prerequisite (*).
- right click show the current popup with pedia and enqueue options.
Yes.
Oberlus wrote:double-clicking on the theory/tier (the big panel naming each tier, that for me is just the theory tech) would add the theory to the queue...
I would rather add all unresearched apps and refinements, if the tier panel should be responsive to double clicking at all.

@Krikkitone: Basically that's correct. Also, there may be one or more theory per tier. No refinements for tiers, only for apps and theories.

Thanks for the feedback! What does everyone else think about the tier system?
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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#27 Post by Oberlus » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:07 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:51 am
One method would be to (in the circle) show an icon indicating multiple conditions, with the mouse-over tooltip specifying the details.
I'd say let's go for that. I assume few techs will have two external prerequisites, and maybe some could have even three, and your solution is good enough. Could the tooltip include graphics, one circled icon for each restriction, clickable in case of techs from other branches?
we might not necessarily always offer the same number of theory refinements as needed to unlock the next tier?
Right. It would make no sense so ask for more, but maybe for less (so that you are asking some apps appart from the theory) could make sense. The mechanics should allow it.
there may be one or more theory per tier. No refinements for tiers, only for apps and theories.
Again, I think there must be one single theory per tier and branch. Currently, in some of the branches, we don't have enough theoretical-only techs to get 4 tiers. It would be a pain to have to came up with fluff theories for padding. Whenever we need more than one theory, make it a single theory with refinements/steps.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#28 Post by The Silent One » Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:36 am

Oberlus wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:07 pm
Again, I think there must be one single theory per tier and branch. Currently, in some of the branches, we don't have enough theoretical-only techs to get 4 tiers. It would be a pain to have to came up with fluff theories for padding. Whenever we need more than one theory, make it a single theory with refinements/steps.
Like I said above, I agree and that's a great idea. One single theory per tier, that has several refinements, makes good sense. See mockup middle tier: only one theory (at the top) with refinements. (Ignore right tier with filler theories.)
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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#29 Post by Oberlus » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:14 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:36 am
See mockup middle tier: only one theory (at the top) with refinements.
Hmm...
Ok, so in middle tier, "theory (done)" and "theory (researchable)" would correspond to the same theory?
I'd expect to have one single tech-slot for an app/theory and its refinements. For this theory, it would be something like "theory (1/X researched)" (with X probably 4 for this case).
Can the same slot of your mockup represent that? Hmm... The color should be "researchable", and the level number in the left over the icon (that wasn't present before researching the initial app/theory) would show its current, researched level. And the right circle (for extern requirements when unmet) is the number of remaining turns to research current level. Oh, right, and now I realise this is exactly how apps with refinements are supposed to work in your mockup. I like it more and more.

This brings up another question I am thinking about. Should we allow app refinements with prerequisites different than the previous level?

A refinement app (level 2 or more of an app) will always require the previous level of this tech (if you, content creator, really want to represent that you can skip some levels, represent these levels as different apps which require the initial app, instead of refinements of the initial app).
An example is Industry Center, next levels only require more investment on it, never other apps/theories. We could want to stick to that, but we could get some nice functionality in the tech tree if we allow some more possible requirements:
- Researching certain tech from different tier or the same branch.
- Unlocking certain, superior tier of its branch (but no specific tech).
- Researching certain tech from different branch (and tier).
- Unlocking certain tier of different branch (but no specific tech).

This could be represented in the same slot and tier, with requirement icons that "update" whenever the app is refined. E.g. the initial app, branch A tier 1 (A-1), has no external requirements, so none are shown in the left circle (no circle), but first refinement requires tech X from branch B tier 2 (B-2), so when you research the initial app, its slot in A-1 shows its current level (researched level 1) and depending on whether the new requirement is met or not, the slow would be coloured "researchable" or "locked" with the left icon showing the unmet prerequisites.

Thoughts?

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#30 Post by The Silent One » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:26 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:14 pm
Should we allow app refinements with prerequisites different than the previous level?
Sure, why not.
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