Geoff the Medio wrote:
Could you get rid of the Quantum Networking theory? I'd like to keep the number of theories smaller when possible... there are already too many techs in most categories, and we'll probably want to add some categories later.
I'd really prefer to keep the number of theories in Learning the way it is, due to the very specific shape of the Learning tree. As you can see, there are three rows of four theories each. A player who wants to follow the top path needs the Physical Brain theory, and a player who wants to follow the bottom path needs the Algorithmic Elegance theory. A player who wants to follow the middle path needs both. In general, due to the increased expense of the theories and applications of the middle path, and the fact that all applications of the middle path also depend on theories from one of the peripheral paths, usually only players who are focusing on research long-term and going for a technological victory will go down the middle path. This is also why there are a few unique and powerful techs there, such as Gateway to the Void and Xenoarchaological Restoration.
The player who is playing for the tech victory might do it one of two ways - he might be an isolationist, or a diplomat. Presumably an aggressive researcher would either be able to win by being the sole-survivor, or would just lose before he could get Singularity of Transcendence, so that general strategy wouldn't make much sense. An isolationist researcher would still have to think very hard about how to expand his empire - his method of expansion would generally be towards the edge of the galaxy, colonizing as many planets in the same system as possible, and staying within the boundaries of a few strategic choke-points (techs like Gateway to the Void and Spatial Distortion Generator reflect this). Since this player is focused primarily on defense, i.e. surviving long enough to get the tech victory, without thinking about invading other players' space, a tech like Cognitive Submission makes sense, since it's extremely valuable as a defensive mechanism, but barely useful to an aggressive expanding empire, whose main weakness will be not against massed assaults, but strategic strikes and espionage.
A diplomatic researcher would expand quite differently. He would always try to get in a position where he could be in contact with the greatest number of other empires, but still be protected from attack. This would probably be accomplished to a certain extent by putting colonies at "dead ends" where they can detect other empires, but without having direct starlane links to them. There would still have to be a lot of strategic defense at choke-points, and in this context, Gateway to the Void and Spatial Distortion Generator still make a lot of sense. This empire would be able to get to Singularity of Transcendence faster because more contact with other empires means the ability to steal techs with espionage is enhanced, and of course they will have the added ability to trade their Learning techs for high-level techs of other categories, greatly reducing the amount of research they themselves will have to do. In this context, Xenoarchaeological Restoration is particularly useful, because they will be able to trade ultra-rare techs (or whatever strategic resource their ultra-rare building produces) for high level theories as well. As before, the military side of things will be primarily defensive, so Cognitive Submission still makes a lot of sense.
Xenoarchaeology should probably depend on Translinguistics, rather than Psionics, and Force-Field Harmonics on Psionics, not Translinguistics.
Agreed. It actually was that way until very shortly before I submitted it, but I wanted to see how it would look with all the really bizarre metaphysical-sounding techs all in the middle. Doing it the other way makes more sense on a lot of levels though, so I will change it back.
Cognitive submission is probably too powerful, and should instead by implemented as a (ideally unique) building. Or perhaps it's OK, since it is very late game... but a more limited building could be unlocked by something earlier in conjuction with Psionics.
The name should also change... "Psionic Domination" or somesuch. The "victem" wouldn't be submitting, which implies some degree of choice to do so, but rather is being dominated beyond their power to resist.
A similar building might not be as interesting, since either the effect would be localized, which limits its interest greatly, since it's not a total shut-out building like the Gateway to the Void or the Spatial Distortion Generator, or the player would need to build something at a location to get a non-localized effect, which isn't as strategically interesting in a research oriented empire, because if the enemy actually penetrates your empire far enough to destroy it, you've probably practically already lost, so it doesn't really matter that the building was destroyed. Unless there's some kind of location dependent effect or condition, it's not really interesting enough as a building for the type of gameplay that would be expected of a research oriented player, IMO.
In general, you haven't discussed any gameplay-related plans for how content will be laid out. We need to have a few independent pathes through the tech tree that can be taken, with distinctions between them in terms of broad classes of content or significant gameplay differences, as much as possible.
As far as the trees that I've already (mostly) done (Learning, Growth and Ships), in general, most players will research growth to some extent, although only those who are going for a bit more of an isolationist espionage game will focus on it. This is because Growth theories will be prerequisites for Organic Hulls theories and/or applications, the hulls of which are very stealthy - the Sentient Hull even gives a bonus to stealth and detection for all accompanying friendly ships. Also, a Growth-focused player will get the techs Xenogenetic Adaptation and Xenological Symbiogenesis, which allow colonization of Poor and Hostile worlds, which makes it much easier to get a large population is a small region of space - ideal for an isolationist. An isolationist researcher for example, would also pick up those to apps on their way to Pure Energy Metabolism, in order to increase the population that they can contain within a closed region of space.
Various Ships apps will be dependent on various theories from other categories, so that all gameplay types will have a rich diversity of Ships apps, but will mainly have access to the ones that support their general strategy. A highly industrialized militarist will have access to things like Asteroid Hulls and Constructed Hulls, the former of which can be devastating if built en masse and hidden in a strategic system with an Asteroid Belt, and both of which can be built quickly with low build time (but high cost in the case of constructed hulls - this complements the large amount of production of which such an empire would be capable).
Anyway, those are some of my thoughts for now. These ideas will be developed further when I finish the other trees, particularly economics - the decision about whether to follow the Market Economy or the Planned Economy should be significant in terms of the overall strategy the player is using.