TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#31 Post by Oberlus » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:00 am

While more feedback comes in, I'm filling a spreadsheet with all the techs (prerequisites, cost, effects, unlockings, everything), that I will complete with the effects of the unlocked buildings and whatnot, and then I'll try to assign a tier (and in some cases change category) to each tech, one single theory per tier-branch. I'll be posting doubts.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#32 Post by Vezzra » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:37 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:47 pm
My main issue with a Theory-Application-Refinement tech system is that it means there are a lot of techs that do nothing. This means the player has to wait longer to get to the next fun / interesting content. The system looks nice in a diagram and is interesting to think about as a design, but I don't find it particularly interesting to play compared with just having techs that do things.
Honestly, I think this is a non-issue. IMO the perceived problem here stems entirely from the way our tech tree is currently set up, which is a result of many years of ripping things out and moving things around and adding stuff in when new mechanics (like the IS, fighters/carriers etc.) have been introduced and the corresponding content needed to be made available somehow.

Which gave us the tech tree in it's current incarnation, with far too much of do-nothing theory techs, and too few application and refinement techs attached to them. There are even entire chains of theory techs you need to research to get to the one application you want (a result of things that have been ripped out, and only the theories remained), which of course is highly annoying.

A properly designed TAR tech tree simply doesn't have these issues. And the player doesn't need to wait longer to get the next interesting thing, that's simply a matter of correctly and sanely setting up theories and applications. In the end, when you balance the costs to get a particular feature/bonus/whatever research is supposed to grant, you come up with a certain amount of RP and time the player should need to invest.

If you make one tech that covers these costs or split that into several techs doesn't change a thing about how long it will take the player to achieve a certain benefit.

The TAR model just allows for a cleaner, more intuitive and better understandable structure of the tech tree. I really fail to see why theories are perceived so badly, when (correctly set up) the player gets to the desired result just as quickly as with an application only tech tree. The fact that you need to enqueue two techs instead of one can't be that much of an issue, can it??

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#33 Post by Vezzra » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:51 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:56 pm
But isn't exactly that one of most compelling points of the TAR system - to make the player choose between researching relatively cheap applications that will have an immediate (if minor) effect, and researching an expensive theory that will not immediately yield anything, but unlock more powerful applications and may let you win the game /tech race in the long run?
This is exactly how I feel about the TAR model. It makes it very easy and enforces a clear and comprehensible layout of the tech tree. As a player I can see at a glance what leads where, and which theories gate which set of apps.

The fact that I need to research a theory to get access to a bunch of apps doesn't bother me at all. Seeing all those pretty apps unlock when researching that theory is a rewarding in-game experience in itself. Why new boni, or new hulls, ship parts, buildings are perceived as a satisfying "I got something" experience, but access to a whole new set of techs is not eludes me, TBH...
I absolutely agree that there shouldn't be many techs that do nothing. For that reason, the relationship between theories and applications should be a small number of theories compared to many applications, with maybe 3-4 refinements per app.
Absolutely! Having to grind through several theory techs to finally get to some applications is annoying and needs to be fixed. But if every theory gives access to a whole set of apps and refinements, then I really don't see the problem.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#34 Post by Vezzra » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:08 pm

Morlic wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:37 pm
However, I am worried that the design is hard to implement if you have parallel branches with (roughly) symmetric tech costs. If the theory tech cost scales something like 10/100/1000/10000 RP in a single branch, then the cost of parallel theory branches becomes trivial compared to going deep into a particular branch. If the costs do not scale exponentially, then you will run into problems with empire's exponential RP scaling and again trivialized cost of theory techs.
Well, flattening the currently much too steep resource output increase curve should help a lot with this, but of course won't solve it entirely.

Which brings me to a suggestion I've already made repeatedly: IMO here (and only here) a cost increase mechanic would actually make sense. That is, make the research costs of techs dependent on the amount of already researched techs. The more techs you have researched, the more expensive it becomes to research new techs.

What doesn't make sense with stuff you can buy for PP, because there cost increase mechanics just act as a means to basically flatten the resource output increase curve, with techs such a mechanic can make sense. Simply because you can't "un-research" an acquired tech. Stuff you buy with PP can be scrapped, and your costs for that stuff go down again. But with techs the decision to "buy" one is permanent, and so is the cost increase. Making the decision what to research first and what to leave for later an important strategical one. Because you can't just go back later and decide to pick up an entirely different branch of the tech tree - that is, you can, but at much increased costs.

Which conveniently achieves a certain degree of mutual-exclusiveness, without having to "hardcode" that into specific techs (if the player chooses tech A, make tech B unavailable/much more expensive etc.), because each decision to follow a certain path in the tech tree makes it more expensive to choose an entirely different path later on.

Balanced correctly, that should alleviate the issue you raise here.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#35 Post by Vezzra » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:12 pm

EricF wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:32 am
I know Theory/Application/Refinement is how it works
in Real Life, but when has it become a goal of the Project to model RL?
At least for me, the TAR model has nothing to do with real life, and everything with an intuitive and clean tech tree design. If TAR also happens to be how things work in real life, nice, but irrelevant.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#36 Post by Vezzra » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:23 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:36 am
The do-nothing techs just seem like a waste of time and player attention, so that the tech tree designer can feel good about their elegant "TAR" tree structure.
Ouch. That sounds like an overly harsh assessment to me. Personally I like that TAR model, not only because I expect it to make designing and properly balancing a tech tree easier for the tech tree designer, but also as a player. FO needs a rather large tech tree, and particularly with large tech trees a clear structure (instead of the incomprehensible mesh with lines going all over the place we have now) is of paramount importance. A TAR model enforces that (or, at least, enforces is much more than an application only tech tree - with deliberate effort you can mess up a TAR tech tree just as badly of course).

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#37 Post by Vezzra » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:30 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:37 am
So some of us find purely theoretical techs not fun, and others actually like the idea of a do-nothing tech whose reward is unlocking more techs.
We may not have a consensus that way, looking for what is funnier.
While that's certainly true, I don't quite get the amount of resentment against the TAR model - for the reasons I've pointed out in my earlier post: correctly balanced, the amount of RP and time you need to invest to get a certain tech needs to be more or less the same in a TAR model and an application only tech tree.

The only real difference would be the layout, and how many techs you'd have to enqueue to get what you want. A very small price for the benefit of a better/cleaner tech tree layout IMO.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#38 Post by Vezzra » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:44 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:51 am
What does everyone else think about the tier system?
An interesting and well thought-out model and good alternative to the TAR model. Personally I like the TAR model just as much, but if others still have that much of an issue with it, by all means, lets go with the proposed tier model. If anything, it will enforce a clean tech tree layout probably even more than the TAR model.

My two cents for the tier model:

Having proper theory techs below a tier to offer an alternative path to unlock the next tier instead of making the tier itself "researchable" sounds like the right approach to me.

Regarding how many theory techs to provide: This is a bit of a dilemma. Having only one (with potentially a couple of refinements) saves screen space and spares us the necessity to come up with a lot of fluff, but it also takes away flexibility. As TheSilentOne pointed out, we might want the possibility to not provide enough theory techs so you can forego researching any of the application techs, but have to research at least one/two/whatever of them. Or we want to provide theory techs that have an external dependency (like a certain species), while still providing alternative techs for empires which don't have these external dependency, but still should be able to go the all-theory way. Providing several theories looks like the more appealing approach to me. We just need to take care not to go overboard (requiring ten ticks for the next tier and thus having to provide ten do-nothing theories... ;)).

Disabling theories of tiers which have the next tier already unlocked is important to prevent the player from wasting RP.

Only applications should count toward unlocking the next tier, not refinements.

Display refinement techs under their respective application techs, with an indent. Not at the same "level", I think with a couple of apps and each one with a couple of refinements we could quickly get quite long and confusing lists under our tiers. Indenting the refinement should help visually. Also, don't display an extra item for each iteration of a refinement, just one box that gets replaced with the next level of the refinement once the prior one is researched, until the final level is reached (in which case it should be displayed like any other completely researched tech). As there can be different kind of refinements for an application (a refinement which increases certain stats of a ship part, while another one might reduce the build costs/time, etc.). So there still can be several refinement items under one application.

Showing how much items of the amount of required ones to unlock the next tier in that circle on the arrow connecting the tiers looks like the best solution so far. If you show that progress with checkboxes in the tier boxes themselves, it's always a bit ambivalent, you always wonder which tier is actually going to be unlocked. With the progress indicator between the tiers everything becomes much easier to understand.

Regarding bonus techs/techs with conditions: sounds like a good idea! Showing an indicator for the condition/prereq in a circle on the right of the box looks good. I would provide that feature for all kind of techs, not only theories. These "external dependencies" should cover all kind of things, other techs/tiers, certain species/specials/buildings/strategic resources, etc. However, these "bonus techs" should always have to be researched, so the player always needs to spend RP and time - even if only a little. The advantage of those techs would be that they are much cheaper than "normal" techs. That said, I'd differentiate between two kinds of these "bonus techs": those which can only be researched when the prereq is met, and those whose costs/min research time are reduced if the prereq is present. Which also means that there needs to be a clear visual distinction so the player can see at a glance which is which.

Another thing I'd like to see is the possibility of "tier branches". What I mean is that the tech tree should be split into several "main trunks" of tiers, with trunks not always being strictly linear, but occasionally splitting into separate "branches". Example: The "trunk" for the techs which help to get more population on your colonies could start out with two or three tiers that provide general means to increase the pop on your planets, and then splitting in a branch that increases your pops resistance to less optimal environments (the pop improvement branch), and a branch that givs you tech to alter planetary evironments to better accomodate your pops (the environment improvement, or terraforming branch). Of course, those branches shouldn't happen too often to avoid a convoluted tech tree, but I'm not sure a strictly linear layout for each "trunk" will work well enough. I suspect it might be too restricting.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#39 Post by Ophiuchus » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:50 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:51 am
What does everyone else think about the tier system?
If the contents can be made to fit, I think it it will provide a good structure and make good use of screen space. So if this leads to interesting decisions it will be a lot better than what we currently have and I think it will be superior to the TAR approach.

I like the ideas about multiplicity and improvements.

So a fast and good implementation path from where we are to the tier model could be as follows. We model the tiers and so in terms of the current techs. We add a new kind of tech for the tiers which need 0 research points and 0 points to finish. The tier tech takes all the unlocking as prerequisites and handles the n-out-of-m-techs requirement using FOCS conditions. The techs of the following tier simply take the tier tech as prerequisite. This allows much reuse of the current implementation and makes it actually more flexible.
  1. expand the FOCS tech prerequisites to take a condition instead of a list of prerequisites
  2. add the necessary NumberOfMatchingPrerequisites FOCS condition (or make Techs universe objects and use NumberOf condition)
  3. automatically research techs which need 0 RP and 0 turns to finish (this is for the tier techs)
  4. optional: expand the tech tree to be able to represent prerequisite conditions
  5. add a tier-view to the technology window
I think that is all what is necessary to support the given use cases, do you guys agree?
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#40 Post by Oberlus » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:24 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:44 pm
Regarding how many theory techs to provide: This is a bit of a dilemma. Having only one (with potentially a couple of refinements) saves screen space and spares us the necessity to come up with a lot of fluff, but it also takes away flexibility.
I think we've come out with a way to avoid that lack of flexibility and still get all the space and content saving (belowe). But about "couple of refinements": the idea is to give so many levels (refinements) to the theory as apps required for next tier.
we might want the possibility to not provide enough theory techs so you can forego researching any of the application techs, but have to research at least one/two/whatever of them.
If, say, you require 4 apps for next tier, and you want to force to get at least one, you make the theory only have 3 levels.
we want to provide theory techs that have an external dependency (like a certain species), while still providing alternative techs for empires which don't have these external dependency, but still should be able to go the all-theory way.
In this case, if we want to allow two theory-only ways to unlock next tier, one unrestricted and one species-bound, I assume one of the ways (species-bound) will be cheaper in some sense than the other. Then, one single theory with refinements can represent this, applying a cost reduction to empires with the required species (same as with Psionics and telepathic species).

Maybe there is some other case where two theories would be necessary, but I can't think of any. Nevertheless, the mechanics should be able to represent both cases, so the decision could be postponed.
Only applications should count toward unlocking the next tier, not refinements.
Except for the "refinements" (levels) of theories that we want to introduce for the unlocking mechanics, right?
So there still can be several refinement items under one application.
Good idea!
these "bonus techs" should always have to be researched, so the player always needs to spend RP and time - even if only a little
I think that is the less confusing way, so they are just techs with (more) restrictions to be unlocked. But I wonder anyways... A bonus that automatically unlocks when the prerequisites are met would be a tech with 0 cost / 0 turns, right? And I wonder what would happen if we place such a theory in FO, would current mechanics grant it as researched once the prerequisites are met?
The advantage of those techs would be that they are much cheaper than "normal" techs.
If they unlock cheaper versions of buildings/parts, having them as a different tech makes sense. Example, the asteroid armour parts.
Just in case: Whenever the tech just gets you the same effect than other tech but with cheaper research cost/time, then this is better expressed with a conditioned cost reduction in a single tech.
That said, I'd differentiate between two kinds of these "bonus techs": those which can only be researched when the prereq is met, and those whose costs/min research time are reduced if the prereq is present. Which also means that there needs to be a clear visual distinction so the player can see at a glance which is which.
I think that is easy to represent: former show it as a restriction icon (for now the circle), and latter show it as a cost-reduction icon (hexagon? square?).
Another thing I'd like to see is the possibility of "tier branches". [...] Of course, those branches shouldn't happen too often to avoid a convoluted tech tree, but I'm not sure a strictly linear layout for each "trunk" will work well enough. I suspect it might be too restricting.
I completely agree. I've reviewed production, learning and growth tech tress regardind its rearrangement into tier system, and I think we could be fine with just two tier-branches for growth and learning, and maybe a single one for production. But allowing two branches seems appropriate.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#41 Post by Oberlus » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:39 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:50 pm
We model the tiers and so in terms of the current techs. We add a new kind of tech for the tiers which need 0 research points and 0 points to finish. The tier tech takes all the unlocking as prerequisites and handles the n-out-of-m-techs requirement using FOCS conditions. The techs of the following tier simply take the tier tech as prerequisite.
Maybe we can do that with the unlocking theory tech and not need a dummy tech for tier: All the apps and theory of next tier require the theory of previous tier. Previous theory gets updated (advances) when apps of its tier are researched (I think this could be done in FOCS via cost and turn reductions for the theory), so either researching the theory, the apps, or a combination of both gets you to the same point: theory is completed and next tier is unlocked.
add the necessary NumberOfMatchingPrerequisites FOCS condition
Maybe unnecessary if above suggestion in possible, the matching is processed via conditional cost/turn reductions in
the theory.
But that probably requires complex FOCS codes, and a higher level solution would be appreciated when creating FOCS content.
I should try and think of a simple syntax that could represent all combination of restrictions...
automatically research techs which need 0 RP and 0 turns to finish (this is for the tier techs)
Or for the theory techs (as per above suggestion) and bonus techs (The Silent One suggestion).
optional: expand the tech tree to be able to represent prerequisite conditions
You mean showing all techs as in current tech tree system?

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#42 Post by Vezzra » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:40 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:24 pm
Only applications should count toward unlocking the next tier, not refinements.
Except for the "refinements" (levels) of theories that we want to introduce for the unlocking mechanics, right?
If we take the theory-with-refinement approach, then yes, of course.
Just in case: Whenever the tech just gets you the same effect than other tech but with cheaper research cost/time, then this is better expressed with a conditioned cost reduction in a single tech.
Sounds reasonable.
I think that is easy to represent: former show it as a restriction icon (for now the circle), and latter show it as a cost-reduction icon (hexagon? square?).
Yes, something like that.
I've reviewed production, learning and growth tech tress regardind its rearrangement into tier system, and I think we could be fine with just two tier-branches for growth and learning, and maybe a single one for production. But allowing two branches seems appropriate.
That is one possible approach, where you base the "trunks" on function, so to speak. One trunk for learning, one for growth, one for detection/stealth, etc.

Personally I'd much prefer a "themed" approach, like a trunk for "organic tech", "energy tech", "mineralogy" etc., where each trunk has applications for all kind of purposes. However, the trunks aren't equal, each trunk has distinct strength and weaknesses. The "energy" trunk could provide e.g. excellent energy weapon tech, but offer no good options or even none at all e.g. for stealth. The various hull lines would be part of certain trunks, like the asteroid hull line could be applications in a trunk covering everything that deals with manipulation of rocks/minerals/etc. (could be the "lithic" trunk).

The player would then have to select trunks to pursue in their research in a way that everything they need/want is covered, but they would have to pick n out of m. Researching all trunks should not be affordable, not be a viable option.

IMO that would be more interesting than having a strictly purpose-based trunk layout. The latter is certainly more compact and easier to design and balance, but also more boring IMO.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#43 Post by The Silent One » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:25 pm

Thanks for your detailed feedbacks, @Vezzra, @Oberlus and @Ophiuchus.
Vezzra wrote:Only applications should count toward unlocking the next tier, not refinements.
Agreed.
Vezzra wrote:Display refinement techs under their respective application techs, with an indent.
I like it. Updated mockup.
Vezzra wrote:I would provide that feature for all kind of techs, not only theories. [...] That said, I'd differentiate between two kinds of these "bonus techs": those which can only be researched when the prereq is met, and those whose costs/min research time are reduced if the prereq is present.
Updated mockup: dotted circle - optional prerequisite; hard circle - definite prerequisite.
Vezzra wrote:Personally I'd much prefer a "themed" approach, like a trunk for "organic tech", "energy tech", "mineralogy" etc., where each trunk has applications for all kind of purposes.
This is exactly how I imagine the tech tree.
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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#44 Post by Oberlus » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:39 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:40 pm
Personally I'd much prefer a "themed" approach, like a trunk for "organic tech", "energy tech", "mineralogy" etc., where each trunk has applications for all kind of purposes. However, the trunks aren't equal, each trunk has distinct strength and weaknesses. The "energy" trunk could provide e.g. excellent energy weapon tech, but offer no good options or even none at all e.g. for stealth. The various hull lines would be part of certain trunks, like the asteroid hull line could be applications in a trunk covering everything that deals with manipulation of rocks/minerals/etc. (could be the "lithic" trunk).

The player would then have to select trunks to pursue in their research in a way that everything they need/want is covered, but they would have to pick n out of m. Researching all trunks should not be affordable, not be a viable option.

IMO that would be more interesting than having a strictly purpose-based trunk layout. The latter is certainly more compact and easier to design and balance, but also more boring IMO.
I like that. Let me see if I grasp correctly the difference between functional and themed approach:
- Stuff related to production increase: functional.
- Stuff related to underground (mines: production; habitation space and food production: pop; infrastructure for defense; ...): themed.
- Stuff related to empire logistics and organisation (industrial center: prod.; empire's logistics: supply and stockpile; interplanetary academic network: res.; meter regeneration; ...): themed.
- Stuff related to minds and brains (mind reading: spy; mind control; influence; use of brains as computing power: res.; ...)

I see how to do it in the already more or less themed branches of techs, like hull lines. Weapons and armours could have that organisation too, easily in fact, if we place different weapons (with different external requirements) within different themes (organic weapons, energy field weapons, mass driver weapons), and the same for armours, engines and even sensors.
As outlined elsewhere, most of current growth techs can go to two clear categories (trunks): medicine/biology/cybernetics and environment modification/terraforming. Subterranean hab., orbital hab., and n-dim hab. could be in three different trunks outside of growth (as they are now except for sub. hab.). Sub. hab could be within Underground Engineering (if we can get enough techs to fill such a trunk with several tiers and several apps per tier), Orb. hab. could be in some orbital industry themed trunk (with microgravity industry, staff regarding planetary defenses...), and something like that for N-Dim. hab. Should we place the three of them in the same trunk, that would be a functional category, right?

With something like this you end up with the kind of choices you had to make in MoO2: do I go for more hapiness and extra output of everything or for the shiny refinement for laboratories? I like that (not sure others). Distributing wisely the different effects so that there are many subsets of trunks that you can focus on for a good strategy could be a challenge but very rewarding for gameplay.

I'll try to figure out more themed trunks into which distribute the techs that currently are within very functional categories, like Production and Research.

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Re: TAR model: Theories only require other theories?

#45 Post by Ophiuchus » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:23 am

Oberlus wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:39 pm
Ophiuchus wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:50 pm
We model the tiers and so in terms of the current techs. We add a new kind of tech for the tiers which need 0 research points and 0 points to finish. The tier tech takes all the unlocking as prerequisites and handles the n-out-of-m-techs requirement using FOCS conditions. The techs of the following tier simply take the tier tech as prerequisite.
Maybe we can do that with the unlocking theory tech and not need a dummy tech for tier: All the apps and theory of next tier require the theory of previous tier. Previous theory gets updated (advances) when apps of its tier are researched (I think this could be done in FOCS via cost and turn reductions for the theory), so either researching the theory, the apps, or a combination of both gets you to the same point: theory is completed and next tier is unlocked.
You are right. I thought the theory tech to be hidden but if i look at the screenshots i see its not. If we do not have the theory having refinements I think tier tech and theory tech is actually the same.
Oberlus wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:39 pm
add the necessary NumberOfMatchingPrerequisites FOCS condition
Maybe unnecessary if above suggestion in possible, the matching is processed via conditional cost/turn reductions in the theory.
Reduction of cost/turns is a really good idea for a first implementation step :)
The only downside i see is tree prerequisite logic would be more cryptic as not only the prerequisites/prerequisite conditions but also the the cost/turn properties need to be analysed. For the visualisation it is probably enough if the theory tech depends on the previous theory tech (hardcoding in FOCS).
Oberlus wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:39 pm
But that probably requires complex FOCS codes, and a higher level solution would be appreciated when creating FOCS content.
I should try and think of a simple syntax that could represent all combination of restrictions...
Thinking about new syntax is not necessary yet IMHO. I do not think one will find the necessary requirements just by discussion, but by implementing a prototype.
Oberlus wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:39 pm
automatically research techs which need 0 RP and 0 turns to finish (this is for the tier techs)
Or for the theory techs (as per above suggestion) and bonus techs (The Silent One suggestion).
optional: expand the tech tree to be able to represent prerequisite conditions
You mean showing all techs as in current tech tree system?
Yes, being able to use the current visualisation would allow us to test the new tech structure in game before having fancy new UI ready. This is especially important as the UI will probably depend on the findings of testing.

So making it even simpler we can drop prerequisite conditions at the beginning (so no bonus techs).

For the first simple/stupid implementation which allows in-game testing of content:
  • contents: theory techs have the previous tier theory tech as prerequisite
  • contents: apps have corresponding theory tech as prerequisite
  • contents: apps refinements have the previous level app/refinement tech as prerequisite
  • contents: apps reduce the research cost of the theory of the next tier
  • server: automatic research of 0 cost technology if all prerequisites are fulfilled (maybe limit to theory category techs)
  • server: short circuit research of 0 turn technology (so you can start researching a next-tier tech in the same turn that theory cost is zero). This may be a bit tricky as you enter some kind of recursion/reevaluation of prerequisites. Probably it is ok to wait an extra turn for the tier unlock and not implement this in the first step.
If we have theory refinements, we could use hidden tier techs for tracking the research progress instead of theory techs. I think that is also a detail making the prototype more complicated, so i would suggest to do that later.

What is currently unsolved/undiscussed (or i missed it) is automatic prerequisite enqueueing. With the suggestion above, the necessary theories would be enqueued. No cost-reduction tech would be automatically enqueued.

@Oberlus if you can come up with the tiers contents i think i can generate the prototype using a script (e.g. you can use some spreadsheet like xls). Columns would be tech name as in FOCS (e.g. SPY_DETECT_2), prerequisites in current FOCS format (should be a tech name single entry like SPY_DETECT_1 ) and tags (it should suffice if you write THEORY for those entries which are a theory and REFINEMENT for refinements).
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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