Production/Research bonuses from techs too big?

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Oberlus
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Production/Research bonuses from techs too big?

#1 Post by Oberlus » Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:53 am

Please, correct me if I'm wrong:

At start, every colony populated by a species produces POPULATION * INDUSTRY_PER_POP (default 0.2) * SPECIES_TRAIT (0.75/1.0/1.5/2.0/3.0).
Most bonuses you can get from researching techs are pop-based with values 0.1, 0.2... 0.5, and even bigger, IIRC. From those bonuses, some are applied before the species trait (so they are affected by it) and some are applied after the species trait (not affected), but that distinction isn't relevant here to me.

My point: you start with 0.2 as the basic production bonus (20% of population), and the smallest extra bonus you get is already +50% of that (+10% of population). That's a lot. Once you get a second bonus, you are already doubling initial production, or more if it was a +0.2pop bonus (so total +150%). This means that if you neglect production and your enemy doesn't, he will be producing several times more than you, and that is hard to overcome. Therefore, you never neglect production bonuses if you have colonies set to production, they are always prioritary over most other techs (only other techs that are as important are military and research, always circumstantially).

All the same goes for RESEARCH_PER_INDUSTRYPOPULATION.

I think it is better for steamrolling control to make the extra bonuses smaller in relation to the initial bonus. We could make initial production bigger (INDUSTRY_PER_POP = 0.5) so that a +0.1*pop bonus becomes a +20% over initial production.
I would expect from this that empires that rush production bonuses does not get as much advantage as they get currently. And the same for research.


Thoughts?

Edit: this comes from my current work with the new tech tree, I'm with the research and production bonuses this days.
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Oberlus
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Re: Production/Research bonuses from techs too big?

#2 Post by Oberlus » Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:45 pm

More on this:

Total pop-based industry bonuses (including buildings) sum up to +3.4*pop. If you start with +0.2pop, that is a +1700% end-game. I think there would be less steamrolling if we limit maximum bonus to something smaller. For example, if we keep initial production at 0.2 and total bonuses end-game sum up to 2.0, it would be +1000%, and assuming most games are finished way before that point, when winning empire has say 2/3 of maximum bonuses, that empire would have something around +600% industry.

Again, the aim is to slow down expansion and power of the winning empires, the ones that are winning the colonisation, military or research competition, by reducing the gap between their production/research and that of the less thriving empires.

With an example: imagine a scenario with a winning empire that has 2/3 of the production techs and 2/3 of the galaxy and a losing empire that has 1/3 of the production techs and 1/3 of the galaxy (i.e., winning one has twice the population and extra tech bonuses than losing one, so we can expect a +300% production advantage).
With current bonuses values the winning empire would have 2/3*(2/3*3.4+0.2), the losing one 1/3*(1/3*3.4+0.2), so winning one is getting = 3.7 times the losing one production, or a +270% production advantage, considering both the greater population and the greater bonus. It is not the expected +300% because of that initial +0.2*pop that average_industry species have.
With same initial production (0.2) but smaller maximum bonuses (+2.0 instead of +3.4, i.e. +1000% instead of +1700%), we get (2/3*(2/3*2.0+0.2))/(1/3*(2/3*1.0+0.2) = 3.53, so wining empire has a +253% advantage (instead of +270%).
Two points to highlight here:
  1. This example values (initial bonus 0.2, maximum 2.0) would be just a cosmetic change: from +270% to +253% it is hardly a patch.
  2. This is why I think it is important to decrease the gap between initial production bonus and end-game, maximum production bonus.
A more radical change of the values: initial 0.5, maximum 1.0 (or 0.2 and 0.4). Same scenario. Winning advantage is +180%. This I would consider a patch (partial fix, alleviation) for steamrolling.
This change would give more importance to the industry species trait, which requires attention to avoid unbalance: A much bigger percentage of the total pop-based industry bonuses would be affected by trait, so the effect at late game is bigger in relation to the bonus obtained from the techs (33% of maximum bonus comes from the initial bonus, instead of just 5.5%). I don't know how that could become a balance problem. And I don't spot any other relevant effect stemming from this change that could cause a problem. But I don't discard finding it out later.


Something similar is applicable for research bonuses, that currently can get up to +2.35*pop or something (actual maximum is slightly bigger, when all stars are white/blue).
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Re: Production/Research bonuses from techs too big?

#3 Post by alleryn » Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:54 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:53 am
My point: you start with 0.2 as the basic production bonus (20% of population)
I guess this is the focus bonus? There is also a 0.5 you start with on the homeworld from the Cultural Archives (regardless of focus, and unaffected by species trait).
Oberlus wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:45 pm
All the same goes for RESEARCH_PER_INDUSTRY.
Minor point, but you presumably mean RESEARCH_PER_POPULATION here.
________
A couple of other thoughts:
  • Flat bonuses are still the real culprit as far as steam rolling goes in the early-mid game (i think). What really starts the snowball is adaptive automation/orbital generation/microgravity industry turning every new colony into 5/(+10)/(+5) new PP plus 2 RP from nascent ai. [Note: The influence mechanic is going to play a highly significant role in balance here, presumably.] It takes a while for these new colonies to grow to sufficient size where the pop-based bonus is a large factor. Of course on the homeworld/native worlds, the pop-based bonuses are still a major factor.
  • I think we should want to balance military techs so that their increase is "bigger" per RP than the industry techs. I don't have numbers on this, yet, but e.g. say Robotic Production, in a typical case if you're focused on industry, increases your production level from 14 (10 for Cultural Archives, 4 for industry focus -- population is 20) to 16 (extra 0.1*20), a net increase of 14%. A military tech of similar RP cost ought to boost the value of a military ship by more than 14%, since production can be used for military or "civilian" purposes (i.e. the industry bonus is more flexible than the military bonus). On the other hand, the military tech is useful regardless of focus, so there is at least some argument against what i'm saying here.
  • I don't have any real conclusion on the overall thrust of what you are saying yet, beyond that in general it seems like a good idea to make it easier to come back/more difficult to get ahead.

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    Oberlus
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    Re: Production/Research bonuses from techs too big?

    #4 Post by Oberlus » Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:47 pm

    alleryn wrote:
    Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:54 pm
    I guess this is the focus bonus? There is also a 0.5 you start with on the homeworld from the Cultural Archives (regardless of focus, and unaffected by species trait).
    Well, most of the different +X*pop bonuses are tied to focus, one (or maybe more) is not. Irrelevant, I guess.
    Regarding the Cultural Archives, it is quite important at start (and usefull for balance purposes) but negligible when you have dozens of colonies.

    Agree with your point on flat bonuses, they are also in my agenda. Got some aces up the sleeve: in the new tech tree, with five main themes, I'm spreading a few small flat bonuses in different themes at early tiers and some bigger ones at later tiers. (Some tied to policies.) Thus you don't get a huge bonus at mid game (I mean: getting fast Adaptive Automation is a no-brainer) that becomes a minor asset late game (+5 per planet when you are getting +50 from the population...). Micrograv.&GG Gens. are not so severely unbalanced, but they can also benefit from a refinement-strategy: when unlocked they give a smaller bonus, increased with tech refinements in later tiers.
    Influence is also being considered in the new tech tree (there's another recent thread about influence upkeep mechanics that are exactly about controlling steamrolling).
    alleryn wrote:
    Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:54 pm
    I think we should want to balance military techs so that their increase is "bigger" per RP than the industry techs. I don't have numbers on this, yet, but e.g. say Robotic Production, in a typical case if you're focused on industry, increases your production level from 14 (10 for Cultural Archives, 4 for industry focus -- population is 20) to 16 (extra 0.1*20), a net increase of 14%. A military tech of similar RP cost ought to boost the value of a military ship by more than 14%, since production can be used for military or "civilian" purposes (i.e. the industry bonus is more flexible than the military bonus). On the other hand, the military tech is useful regardless of focus, so there is at least some argument against what i'm saying here.
    Sorry but I don't get your point here (mind my English). I mean, what are you suggesting or pointing out? That techs that unlock military assets should cost more (or less) RPs than techs boosting industry?
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    Re: Production/Research bonuses from techs too big?

    #5 Post by Morlic » Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:28 pm

    His point is that researching new military techs generally increases "cost efficiency" of a design - so your 100 PP/turn translate into more MilitaryPower/turn if you have better military tech.

    Imagine you could for a certain amount of RP either
    a) an economy tech to improve your PP output by 20% or
    b) a military tech which makes your designs 20% stronger per PP spent

    Both these options increase your MilitaryPower/turn by 20% (assuming you spend the same percentage of PP on military ships as before). However, option a) also increases the "civilian use" of PP by 20%, e.g. colony ships, economy buildings etc. Therefore, option b) is strictly worse.

    In order to balance a) and b), the military tech must be cheaper (in terms of RP) and/or have more impact than the economy tech, i.e. increase MilitaryPower/PP by more than 20%.
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    Oberlus
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    Re: Production/Research bonuses from techs too big?

    #6 Post by Oberlus » Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:10 pm

    alleryn wrote:
    Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:54 pm
    Morlic wrote:
    Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:28 pm
    Oh! Excellent point. Thank you for the extra explanation, Morlic.
    I'll put that into my spreadsheets: estimations of the impact on cost efficiency of military techs to balance them against production boosts.
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    Vezzra
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    Re: Production/Research bonuses from techs too big?

    #7 Post by Vezzra » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:57 pm

    Oberlus wrote:
    Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:53 am
    Thoughts?
    Your observations are very much on point. I have tried to point out this exact problem repeatedly in the past (that the resource output increase you gain by techs, buildings, specials etc. is way(!!!) too high) and suggested basically the same: completely rebalance the resource output boni, increase the initial bonus, and decrease the boni you get by techs etc. a lot.

    This applies to all resource output boni, not only production. Research is affected as well (maybe not as badly, but still). As you observed (absolutely correctly IMO), it's ridiculous that by e.g. researching a few cheap early game techs you can increase your production by 100% or more. This is insane, and very predictably lead to the steamroller effect we all know (and love so much... ;)).

    So, proposal enthuastically seconded. :D

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