General discusion on new species and traits

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Oberlus
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General discusion on new species and traits

#1 Post by Oberlus » Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:35 am

Topic splitted from the ship shield species trait.
Ophiuchus wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:57 am
Great shields plus Bad pilot species would be nice (hm.. Gysache maybe?).
My long term plan is to have many new species. Having at least 5 playable species per regular environment, plus 3 or so per special environments (GGs and belts), so at least 50 playable species, should be easy without making any two of them too similar in gameplay. But, even if they are too similar in gameplay (except for the environment), it is better than not having them. I'm already sick of fighting my same species in multiplayer games with 8 players or less. Two Chatos and two Egassem once, two Fulver this last game. I know that changing the universe generation scripts to avoid repeated species unless necessary would solve this, but I'm looking also at games with more empires, so more species is a better solution (both should be done, anyway).

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Re: General discusion on new species and traits

#2 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:05 pm

Oberlus wrote:My long term plan is to have many new species. Having at least 5 playable species per regular environment, plus 3 or so per special environments (GGs and belts), so at least 50 playable species, should be easy without making any two of them too similar in gameplay. But, even if they are too similar in gameplay (except for the environment), it is better than not having them.
I do understand, but still disagree. We should up the distinctiveness with the number of species. But that should not be rushed I think - else we add only more of the same instead of really distinct features.

E.g. the regular planet types are only different, not distinct. Distinctivess is currently only added because of the distinctiveness of the types of species which can live there. Thats why I fight for that the distribution of species traits is different at least for some environments.

Another thing: the three colors of stealth i proposed are actually distinct. On one axis of difference, active/passive depend on what you do with your ships (e.g. move), gravitonic does not depend on what you. On another axis research properties are different (e.g. detecting active ships is easy, researching detecting gravitonic is hard, but stealthing gravitonic is very hard). And they aggregate in order to : IF grav_detection > grav_stealth OR active_detection > active_stealth OR passive_detection > passive_stealth THEN ship_detected. Also usually gravitonic_stealth > passive_stealth > active_stealth. Was still not considered distinct enough I think.
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: General discusion on new species and traits

#3 Post by Oberlus » Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:55 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:05 pm
I do understand, but still disagree. We should up the distinctiveness with the number of species. But that should not be rushed I think - else we add only more of the same instead of really distinct features.

E.g. the regular planet types are only different, not distinct. Distinctivess is currently only added because of the distinctiveness of the types of species which can live there. Thats why I fight for that the distribution of species traits is different at least for some environments.
I agree to the last point. That's why I'm thinking of new, hopefuly distinct species trait.

An unofficial list of species traits. {not implemented, or only used in one native species}, (also on another cathegory)
  • "Output" traits: Industry, Research, {Influence}, Population, Env. Tolerance, {Col. Speed}, (Xenophobic).
  • Combat traits: Pilots (weapons), {Armour}, {Shields}.
  • Logistic traits: Stockpile, Supply, (Fuel).
  • Exploration traits: Planetary Detection, Fuel, (Supply).
  • Invasion traits: Off. Troops, Def. Troops, Pl. Stealth, {Pl. Shields}, {Pl. Defense}.
  • Miscelaneous traits: Xenophobic, Telepathic, {Omniscient}, {Sympathy}.
Sympathy would be about getting along with other species in the same empire, for multispecies empire management. Maybe more species traits would make sense as well, and form its own cathegory, but we can have for granted at least one new species trait once Influence and Government mechanics are in place.
Pilots could be split into Pilots (affecting fighter damage) and Gunners (affecting SR damage).

Ignoring the misc. and invasion cathegories and Col. Speed trait, and taking none, one or two non-average traits of each cathegory, without differentiating between good, great and ultimate (as if value could only be bad or good), we get a lot of possible combinations:
Output combinations (all average + 1 bad or 1 good + 2 bad or 2 good or 1 bad and one good): 1+2*5+3*20 = 71 combinations.
Weapons (with Pilots split in Pilots and Gunners): 1+2*4+3*12 = 45 combinations.
Logistics: 9 combinations.
Exploration: 9 combinations.
Assuming only half of these combinations on each cathegory are really interesting, we get 35*22*4*4= >12000 combinations. More than 1000 combinations per environment, that are at least distinct in one relevant cathegory among them and among any other combination assigned to other environment.
And then we add to the misc the Invasion and Misc. cathegories to add flavour when needed.
I think there is a lot of space for new species.

Another thing: the three colors of stealth i proposed are actually distinct. On one axis of difference, active/passive depend on what you do with your ships (e.g. move), gravitonic does not depend on what you. On another axis research properties are different (e.g. detecting active ships is easy, researching detecting gravitonic is hard, but stealthing gravitonic is very hard). And they aggregate in order to : IF grav_detection > grav_stealth OR active_detection > active_stealth OR passive_detection > passive_stealth THEN ship_detected. Also usually gravitonic_stealth > passive_stealth > active_stealth. Was still not considered distinct enough I think.
I like all this. If adding three different stealth meters to ships and planets is a problem (I think it is), the single stealth meter could show the minimum value of the three (maybe taking a different shade/color corresponding to the stealth type with minimum value), and hovering the mouse over it could show the individual values for each stealth type.

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Re: General discusion on new species and traits

#4 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:06 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:55 pm
An unofficial list of species traits. {not implemented, or only used in one native species}, (also on another cathegory)
...I think there is a lot of space for new species.
I like the structuring and thinking. I think there might be some mistakes in the calculation (e.g. logistics has 2+1 traits and exploration has 3+1 traits, but the same amount of combinations).
The reasoning led me to think the ballpark should be ok but when I was actually balancing species it was very often like: oh almost like species XXX - lets do something different. So it did not feel like a lot of space.

So maybe this indicates the traits are not sooo distinct or not interesting? Or the combinatorics work actually different.

Starting from early mid game you build purposed shipyards planets (i.e. you do not care about Industry,Research,Population,Env.Tolerance,Pl.stealth,Def.Troops traits).

For a planet without shipyard only Industry,Research,Population,Env.Tolerance,Pl.stealth,Def.Troops matter. And later in the game Industry,Research,Env.Tolerance matters less and less.
So only basically about ~4 distinct options in late game to vary. 6 in early game. So lets say only 71 combinations (as you said for 5) for species to differ in colonization.

Dont have the time to think it through for shipyards/purposed shipyards (i.e. invasion/ship combat/exploration shipyards),
but I would rather calculate: significant options == colonization-options + invasion-options + combat-options + exploration-options (instead of multiplying).

Maybe this is rather a topic for natives vs player species. I thought before we should have just some starting species and a lot of native species. But this indicates actually the opposite. Combination of traits matters more for starting species, so there could be an order more of empire species than distinct native species.
On the other hand I really want our starting species to be different on the narrative level as well. I was exploring that thought in the ascension discussion - each species could have a different ascension path. Maybe each (empire) species should get a dilemma to solve as side-quest - solving it could add a boost or remove a negative trait, transforming the empire

This could also indicates that we should mostly seek to increase the distinct colonization traits because we have much more non-shipyard planets than shipyard planets.

One interesting map-interacting trait could be of ship speed upgrades. Having ships for covering a larger part of border, or outrunning same-tech enemies, or faster close-to-supply exploration, or faster to deploy ships from your shipyards. Would be nice for species which can build ships but can not colonize elsewhere (e.g. acirema).
Could be categorized as exploration/logistics - also interacting with combat (vs pilot,fuel,armour,shields) and invasion (vs troops,fuel,armour).
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: General discusion on new species and traits

#5 Post by Oberlus » Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:40 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:06 pm
So maybe this indicates the traits are not sooo distinct or not interesting?
That's also true. We need to add as much distinctiveness as possible, but then also pad out the rest with differentiation. Because artificial flavor is better than no flavor (when playing in a 50 empires' galaxy).

Ophiuchus wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:06 pm
when I was actually balancing species it was very often like: oh almost like species XXX - lets do something different. So it did not feel like a lot of space.
Oh, you're so right.

Nomenclature for clarity:
- Combination: each combination of trait values from a given cathegory
- Configuration: each possible set of five "combinations", each one from a separate trait cathegory (so combat-combination + expansion-combination + etc.).
- OP Combination: a combination of traits from a cathegory that is clearly advantageous; e.g. Good Pilots plus every other combat trait average).
- (Relatively) Balanced Combination: e.g. Good Pilots + Bad Armor.
- UP Combination: e.g. Bad Pilots plus every other combat trait average.

When putting together combinations of each cathegory to form a configuration, we want OP ones cancelled out by UP ones, and the rest balanced.
This takes out a lot of possible configurations.

(non mentioned traits are average)

Combat combinations:

OP+:
  1. Great Weapons
  2. Great Fighters
  3. Great Shields
  4. Great Armor
  5. Ultimate Weapons + Bad Shields
  6. Ultimate Weapons + Bad Armor
  7. Ultimate Weapons + Bad Fighters
  8. Ultimate Fighters + Bad Shields
  9. Ultimate Fighters + Bad Armor
  10. Ultimate Fighters + Bad Weapons
  11. Ultimate Shields + Bad Weapons
  12. Ultimate Shields + Bad Armor
  13. Ultimate Shields + Bad Fighters
  14. Ultimate Armor + Bad Shields
  15. Ultimate Armor + Bad Weapons
  16. Ultimate Armor + Bad Fighters
If we consider as equivalent weapons and fighters, and also shields and armor, it's only 4 combinations (offensive great, defensive great, defensive ultimate + ofensive bad, offensive ultimate + defensive bad).

OP:
  1. Good Weapons
  2. Good Fighters
  3. Good Shields
  4. Good Armor
  5. Great Weapons + Bad Shields
  6. Great Weapons + Bad Armor
  7. Great Weapons + Bad Fighters
  8. Great Fighters + Bad Shields
  9. Great Fighters + Bad Armor
  10. Great Fighters + Bad Weapons
  11. Great Shields + Bad Weapons
  12. Great Shields + Bad Armor
  13. Great Shields + Bad Fighters
  14. Great Armor + Bad Shields
  15. Great Armor + Bad Weapons
  16. Great Armor + Bad Fighters
If idem: only 4 combinations (offensive good, defensive good, defensive great + ofensive bad, offensive great + defensive bad).

Balanced:
  1. All average
  2. Good Weapons + Bad Shields
  3. Good Weapons + Bad Armour
  4. Good Weapons + Bad Fighters
  5. Good Fighters + Bad Shields
  6. Good Fighters + Bad Armour
  7. Good Fighters + Bad Weapons
  8. Good Shields + Bad Weapons
  9. Good Shields + Bad Armour
  10. Good Shields + Bad Fighters
  11. Good Armour+ Bad Weapons
  12. Good Armour+ Bad Shields
  13. Good Armour+ Bad Fighters
  14. Great Weapons + Bad Shields + Bad Armour
  15. Great Weapons + Bad Armour + Bad Fighters
  16. Great Weapons + Bad Fighters + Bad Shields
  17. Great Fighters + Bad Shields + Bad Armour
  18. Great Fighters + Bad Armour + Bad Weapons
  19. Great Fighters + Bad Weapons + Bad Shields
  20. Great Shields + Bad Weapons + Bad Armour
  21. Great Shields + Bad Armour + Bad Fighters
  22. Great Shields + Bad Fighters + Bad Weapons
  23. Great Armour+ Bad Weapons + Bad Shields
  24. Great Armour+ Bad Shields + Bad Fighters
  25. Great Armour+ Bad Fighters + Bad Weapons
If idem: 3 combinations (all average, off. good + def. bad, def. good + off. bad).

UP
  1. Bad Weapons
  2. Bad Fighters
  3. Bad Shields
  4. Bad Armor
If idem: it's only 2 combinations (off. bad or def bad).


Output combinations:
OP+
  1. Great Industry
  2. Great Research
  3. Great Influence
  4. Ultimate Industry + Bad Research
  5. Ultimate Industry + Bad Influence
  6. Ultimate Research + Bad Industry
  7. Ultimate Research + Bad Influence
  8. Ultimate Influence + Bad Industry
  9. Ultimate Influence + Bad Research
OP
  1. Good Industry
  2. Good Research
  3. Good Influence
  4. Great Industry + Bad Research
  5. Great Industry + Bad Influence
  6. Great Research + Bad Industry
  7. Great Research + Bad Influence
  8. Great Influence + Bad Industry
  9. Great Influence + Bad Research
  10. Ultimate Industry + Bad Research + Bad Influence
  11. Ultimate Research + Bad Industry + Bad Influence
  12. Ultimate Influence + Bad Industry + Bad Research
Balanced
  1. All average.
  2. Good Industry + Bad Research
  3. Good Industry + Bad Influence
  4. Good Research + Bad Industry
  5. Good Research + Bad Influence
  6. Good Influence + Bad Industry
  7. Good Influence + Bad Research
UP
  1. Bad Industry
  2. Bad Research
  3. Bad Influence
To be continued on another post (g2g).

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Re: General discusion on new species and traits

#6 Post by labgnome » Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:21 pm

Some thoughts:

Firstly, I think this thread might need to be re-named, as it's going way beyond the scope of just the possibility of adding a species shield trait. Which FYI: I think in the spirit of things like gunners, pilots and engineers should be called "technicians".

Secondly. I'd organize the traits differently than what you have presented. Namely, I'd merge the Logistic and Exploration trait groups as supply, fuel and now possibly speed would go in both. I'd also break up the Output traits into expansion and economic traits and miscellaneous traits into psionic and behavior traits.

Something like this:

Economic traits: production, research, {influence}
Combat traits: gunners (weapons), {pilots} (fighters), {engineers} (armor), {technicians} (shields)
Logistic traits: detection, stockpile, supply, fuel, {speed}
Expansion traits: population, environmental tolerance, {colonization speed}, offensive troops
Defense Traits: defensive troops, stealth, {planetary defenses}, {planetary shields}
Psionic Traits: telepathic, clairvoyant (telepathic detection), {prescient}, shared vision
Behavior Traits: xenophobia, {sympathy}

Thirdly, how do you account for species like the Gysache, who have both good production and good research? Would they be OP+?

Lastly, what are your ideas about Sympathy? Would it be like an opposite of Xenophobia?
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Re: General discusion on new species and traits

#7 Post by Ophiuchus » Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:37 pm

labgnome wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:21 pm
Firstly, I think this thread might need to be re-named, as it's going way beyond the scope of just the possibility of adding a species shield trait.
oberlus wrote:
That is right we are quite off topic. Oberlus, as you are moderator could you split this thread please?

The design space for traits discussion started at #7 and starting from #9 there is no input to the shield trait anymore.
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: General discusion on new species and traits

#8 Post by Ophiuchus » Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:01 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Thanks for splitting the thread. Nicely done.
labgnome wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:21 pm
Secondly. I'd organize the traits differently than what you have presented.
Also here. I think there are many different kind of categories one could come up with.

What is useful for design i think is to know which of the traits interact and how much and what type commitment one kind of category needs.

E.g. all the traits which are useful during ship combat "stack". You can have the most horrible combination of other traits and it wont matter much - you would still build a shipyard planet for your best ship combat species.

Also for an invasion species you mostly care about attack troops, then depending on circumstances fuel, speed, armour/shields.

For exploration (and intellegence) you care about detection, fuel, then depending on circumstances armour/shields, speed.

For chaff you care about armour, fuel, maybe speed.

For outposts you care about speed, fuel and maybe armour (detection is also nice).

For far colony ships you care about environment, supply, fuel, stealth, speed, defense troops, maybe armour/shields.

Of course sometimes you sometimes you would rather choose a species which does multiple roles nicely even if you had a better species for one of the roles. E.g. you would use the planet for extra production instead for building a specialised exploration shipyard.

Planetary defense (stealth, troops...) is also nice for a shipyard planet but in most cases tertiary.

Also for resources (research/production/influence) - you can only produce one type of resource at a time. So a great_production, bad_research species is probably better than a good_production, average_research species. And if we add influence I guess a great_production, bad_research, bad_influence species is probably better than a good_production, average_research, average_influence species.
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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