Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

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Oberlus
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Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#1 Post by Oberlus » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:18 am

Proposal for colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics.

Stemming from this thread on Influence.

Colonies focused on influence produce it. Nothing else (a priori).
Techs, buildings and policies may increase de influence production (pop-based) or reduce the influence upkeep of certain assets.
At any time in the game evolution, an empire will produce IPs each turn as per this equation:

IP per turn = P*B + S
where
P is the total population of the colonies set to influence focus;
B is the total pop-based bonus, being it the sum of the species influence bonus plus any other from techs, buildings, policies or specials; and
S is the Imperial Palace flat bonus.

This is a blatant simplification of what should be the real formula, the summation for each influence colony of its local population multiplied per its local influence bonus (that might be different for each colony depending on species, happiness, supply connection, etc.). But it serves a purpose for estimation of parameters in this proposal.

Influence upkeep serves as the break for steamrolling/exponential growth.
The more colonies/ships you have, the more influence you need to pay for each asset.

It is my preconception that the increase of influence upkeep per ship/colony should grow to a maximum that, at end game (full tech tree researched) an empire that has colonised all planets in the galaxy must have all colonies set to influence and only has spare influence to pay for fleet upkeep worth a small percentage (X) of the total colony influence upkeep. It could be something like this:

Total colony upkeep per turn COL_UPK = C*(MIN+(MAX-MIN)*(C/G))
where
C is the number of colonies of the empire.
G is the total number of planets, asteroid belts and GGs in the galaxy.
MIN is the minimum influence upkeep of a colony, including homeworld. It might be zero (so that homeworld alone would not require any influence upkeep).
MAX is the maximum influence upkeep of a colony, when the empire owns all colonies. At that point, total colony upkeep paid by the empire would be G*MAX.

Similarly, for fleet upkeep, we get:

Total fleet upkeep per turn FLT_UPK = FLEET_PPS*(FMIN+(FMAX-FMIN)*(C/G))
where FLEET_PPS is the total number of PP cost of the imperial fleet, and FMIN/FMAX are minimum/maximum influence upkeep per ship PP.

Getting back to the "preconception", if we put together the equation of empire's IP production (for all galaxy colonies set to influence) and the one for end-game colony upkeep, we get

(1-X)(P*B+S) = G*MAX

We also have that P = G*PMAX, where PMAX is average end-game population per planet (say 50).
If we assume that end-game B for average species is 1.0 (let's call it BMAX), X is 0.1, and we neglect S, we get 0.9*50*G*1.0 = G*MAX, so MAX = 45. Or more exactly:

MAX = (1-X)*PMAX*BMAX

The proposed increase of colony upkeep, linear to the number of colonies, could be changed by something more sofisticated (exponential, sine wave, etc.) if balance needs it. But the idea of linking MAX to maximum number of colonies in the galaxy seems solid. This way it could work for 50-system galaxies the same that for 5000-system galaxies. However, number of systems per empire could be necessary somewhere in the equation to allow for faster expansion early game when there are fewer players, if this is deemed necessary.

At the beginning of the game, the S shall provide for all the influence an empire may need to keep initial gameplay the same we have now (i.e. no need to focus your HW to influence to get your first ships and colonies).
Only after growing enough your fleet or acquiring enough colonies (or a mix) you will need extra influence and have to set some colonies to influence and/or research/build/apply specific techs/buildings/policies (either way reducing your expansion velocity).

The actual value of MAX shall depend on PMAX and BMAX(*), that in turn depends on the species traits and tech tree. That is, if you know your tech tree, you can set MAX. One could do the reversed analysis, fix maximum colony upkeep, assume PMAX and deduce BMAX, but this way seems easier: you can tailor tech tree and species to ensure BMAX is 1.0, and the same for PMAX.

Next stop is to find a proper ratio between MAX and FMAX (colonies and ships upkeep costs). Something like "an end-game colony upkeep costs as much as 10 robo hulls with end-game gear". Assuming PMAX=50 and BMAX=1.0, average end-game IP production would be 50, and so these end-game robos would cost 5 IPs per turn each. That would mean, assuming X=0.1 and that such ships costs 100 PPs, that FMAX would be 5/100=0.05 IPs/PP. Also, that this end-game empire could maintain a fleet of G such ships (one per colony), 100 small/medium ships for 100 colonies. If that is too small (looks like it is), we reduce FMAX (0.005 instead of 0.05 to have something like 1 titan or 10 robos per colony)


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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#2 Post by labgnome » Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:18 pm

There has also been a lot of call of influence upkeep based on number of species in your empire. This is especially relevant regarding the recent discussion on balancing natives. Maybe something with number of species divided by number of colonies?
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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#3 Post by Oberlus » Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:40 pm

labgnome wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:18 pm
influence upkeep based on number of species in your empire [...] Maybe something with number of species divided by number of colonies?
I don't have enough free and healthy neurons to develop that.
I think it is a better approach to make unhappy colonies cost more influence, and introduction of new species cause unhappiness, depending on the species values, empires action, blablabla.
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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#4 Post by Krikkitone » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:50 pm

In terms of Maintenance and Un/Happiness relationship

I like this model
Imperial maintenance= colonies *( Min + (Max-min)*(% of galaxy colonized))

However.... Max and Min should depend on 'Policy Cards" chosen. Those "Policy Cards" could have benefits or costs

So if you are incorporating a lot of new species....
"Integration Policy"... increases happiness of non capital species, increases Minimum Maintenance

or if you are xenociding everyone anyways
"Optimization Policy"...decreases happiness of non capital species, decreases Maximum Maintenance

So...Policy Cards would give you the ability to pay more (or less) maintenance for other benefits (or penalties)


So if you have colonized the whole Galaxy, depending on your Policy Choices, that could mean 30%, 70%, 150%, or 300% of your worlds need to be on full influence focus just to pay maintenance.

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#5 Post by Oberlus » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:58 pm

Krikkitone wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:50 pm
So if you have colonized the whole Galaxy, depending on your Policy Choices, that could mean 30%, 70%, 150%, or 300% of your worlds need to be on full influence focus just to pay maintenance.
More like 80%-150%. I mean, allowing for crazy strategies (regarding policy choices and anything else) that throw yourself into influence banckruptcy if you are not cautious is OK, IMO, as long as you don't allow for really stupid things to happen, but allowing for strategies that allow you to have several times the military and production power of other empires of the same size seems to me like a winning ticket for steamrolling. In other words, the system must ensure that the ones with more power are slowed down.
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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#6 Post by Krikkitone » Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:10 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:58 pm
Krikkitone wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:50 pm
So if you have colonized the whole Galaxy, depending on your Policy Choices, that could mean 30%, 70%, 150%, or 300% of your worlds need to be on full influence focus just to pay maintenance.
More like 80%-150%. I mean, allowing for crazy strategies (regarding policy choices and anything else) that throw yourself into influence banckruptcy if you are not cautious is OK, IMO, as long as you don't allow for really stupid things to happen, but allowing for strategies that allow you to have several times the military and production power of other empires of the same size seems to me like a winning ticket for steamrolling. In other words, the system must ensure that the ones with more power are slowed down.
Well at the 150% or 300% policy choices you would never try to colonize the whole Galaxy (ie you would only colonize 20-40% of the galaxy and obliterate the rest, or go for a Tech win)

(as a matter of fact if you are spending 50%* or more of your planets on colony up keep, then colonizing another planet is not worthwhile, and you should let planets rebel...and then obliterate them for their rebellion)

If you wanted to go for a Standard Conquest win (actually Conquering most enemy planets), you would probably have to keep Policy choices that kept your Maintenance costs to 120% or less for galactic colonization. (30% would probably come with severe penalties like shutting down tech, high chance of rebellion, poor production, etc.)

* if you are aiming for the optimum amount of Useful planets, and are spending 50% on maintenance adding one more planet will actually decrease your number of useful planets (if minimum is 0)

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#7 Post by Oberlus » Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:32 pm

Well... Maybe 300% wouldn't hurt. But 30% is too off, even 70%.
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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#8 Post by Krikkitone » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:02 am

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:32 pm
Well... Maybe 300% wouldn't hurt. But 30% is too off, even 70%.
If the maintenance is over 50% then colonization HURTS your output.

There should be a set of policy cards (low Influence maintenance/world, high Influence production/world) that by the end of the game makes it worthwhile to colonize the whole galaxy [but comes with rather severe drawbacks like low industry, low happiness, low research, poor troops, high ship maintenance, etc.] Someone should be able to have 'colonize everything' as a strategy, that is valid in certain situations.

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Re: Colony and fleet influence upkeep mechanics [RFC]

#9 Post by Oberlus » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:40 am

Krikkitone wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:02 am
If the maintenance is over 50% then colonization HURTS your output.
Yes, but
  • getting new planets also increases production, so the pain (actual output reduction) comes after 50%
  • add some flat bonuses to the mix and the hurt is delayed further,
  • invading enemy planets also hurts your enemy,
  • you need to get those enemy planets to finish the game,
  • making things harders for the empire that is winning is the point.
Krikkitone wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:02 am
There should be a set of policy cards (low Influence maintenance/world, high Influence production/world) that by the end of the game makes it worthwhile to colonize the whole galaxy [but comes with rather severe drawbacks like low industry, low happiness, low research, poor troops, high ship maintenance, etc.]
Isn't that like hurting his output?
Krikkitone wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:02 am
Someone should be able to have 'colonize everything' as a strategy, that is valid in certain situations.
With this restriction it would be more than possible, easy. It reduces your overall output, but it is still high when compared to the enemy's, because she has way less galaxy than you, which also hurt her output a lot.

Well, I can have wrong numbers anyway. I shall try better (o do more complex numbers).
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