Moo2 vs Moo1

Talk about strategy games like MoO series, Civilization, Europa Universalis, etc.

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PowerCrazy
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#16 Post by PowerCrazy » Wed Sep 03, 2003 6:39 pm

Also FYI, the deathray WAS NOT the best weapon in that game. It was the Tri-Focus plasma. It did more damage/shot/size than the death ray did. I only used the death ray in ONE ship design and that was only for taking out planets. Also scatter pack missiles were great vs the stacks of 32000 little ships there was little that could be done to them otherwise, and zeon were good vs the huge ships. And of course if the opponent tried a large swarm of 6 * 32000 thats when you whip out the great equalizer the BHG. I wish it would have had muliplayer or at least hot-seat or something.

The AI cheated the worse of any game in that game(except maybe Civ 3). You ever fight a fleet of 2-3000 huge ships that each had over 100 proton torpedos in addition to the other goodies? AND they could fire the torpedos EVERY TURN? yeah, that gave you a challenge...

There was no game-play reason for them to limit the number of ship designs to 6. It was simply a necessity for computer memory. And why shouldn't you be able to refit all your ships everytime you get a new tech? I say if you have the resources go for it. Thats player freedom.
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Impaler
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#17 Post by Impaler » Wed Sep 03, 2003 7:35 pm

Scatter Packs could be realy overpowered in the Mid game though. I rarly get to BHG and other such tecnologes as I play with a lot of oponents in huge galaxies, the spliting up of the tec and resorces keeps you from building up to that huge level and I find that the game has usaly beed desided in the mid game by that point so their no real challenging comflict late game.

As for the 6 max ships, it dose focus you on your designs which is nice in a way, but I would have prefered pro-typing costs to be the constraining factor rather then an arbitary limit (I always perfer cost constraints to arbitrary limits). Another think the AI is realy stupid about scrapping and redesigning its ships. I usaly keep a small military and redesign very often. I will usaly keep 1 colony ship, 2-3 close in attackers, 2-3 long range attackers 1-2 planet bombers. I redesign offten and am not afraid to scrap ships that are not yet fully obsolete to get cutting edge designs. The AI though will keep useless ship designs and even make more of them when they have significantly better tecnology.
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#18 Post by Daveybaby » Thu Sep 04, 2003 9:48 am

Two words : Intertial Nullifier :P

Heh, its kind of pointless saying 'my ship design will beat yours' in moo1, cos theres never gonna be a way of proving it in MP. I guess moo1 player ship designs dont get as optimised as moo2 ones, purely because you dont get the evolutionary effect of playing multiplayer.

One of my favourite ship designs in the late game is a huge chassis with high energy focus, 4 slots containing some heavy hitting beam weapons (heavy phasor or tri focus plasma), and enough speed to get into firing range of the enemy stacks on the first move. Its *so* nice to be able to take out 4 stacks before they even have a chance to retreat, let alone attack.

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#19 Post by Moriarty » Fri Sep 05, 2003 8:30 am

powercrazy - but is your basis of weapon size based on before miniturisation, or after? I can't recall if tri-focus is late game... I think it's mid-to-early.
I always wait till the very end to attack, by which time the only tech worth using is mauler devices and (if i've captured orion) the death ray.

fave ship config:
huge ship - everything max tech, and well miniturised.
~11 death rays
~11 maulers
~11 death rays
~11 maulers
(in that order. That way u can take out 4 stacks at once)

as well as high-energy focus (well duh :) ), teleporter (if it's available), and something else (can't recall what though)

And of course send in medium sized BGH ships for good messure


Daveybaby- if i recall correctly, the inertial nullifier only worked for planets that had it. Can't recall if u required at least 1 missile base...

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Daveybaby
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#20 Post by Daveybaby » Fri Sep 05, 2003 1:01 pm

Tri focus plansma cannon is late game. Its up there with stellar converters and mauler devices.

And, yep.. subspace interdictor is installed on missile bases - but why would you not want missile bases? Either way, if you *rely* on having subspace transporters to win your battles, then you may come unstuck when you encounter them. I prefer to use high levels of manoeuverability to achieve much the same effect without the risk.

Death ray is by far the most powerful weapon per unit space in the game, but only against very large, heavily shielded ships. Against other types of ship there are better weapons. BHG is good against small ships, but its not sufficient to win a battle against them on its own, IMO.

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#21 Post by Daveybaby » Fri Sep 05, 2003 1:11 pm

PowerCrazy wrote:There was no game-play reason for them to limit the number of ship designs to 6. It was simply a necessity for computer memory. And why shouldn't you be able to refit all your ships everytime you get a new tech? I say if you have the resources go for it. Thats player freedom.
It wasnt just a memory issue - it was also a gameplay design decision. It *enhances* gameplay if you force players to make REAL choices that actually have an effect on gameplay. One of the most important decisions in moo1 is when to scrap and when to build a new design. Moo1 would be a worse game by far if it had (a) infinite ship designs, or (b) refitting.

One of the WORST things about Moo2 is ship refit. It encourages lazy, *boring* gameplay. I love designing ships. I also love the fact that in moo1 it mattered that your design was good. If you design a turkey, then build several thousand before going to war only to find they dont work, then that is FANTASTIC gameplay, because your actions actually matter. If it was Moo2 you would just shrug, redesign, and then refit your entire, identical, boring fleet to fix the problem. How dull.

Powercrazy, i suggest that you re-read your own sig with regard to this issue. :wink:

Player freedom isnt necessarily a good thing. To make a good game you have to impose rules to limit the player's natural tendency towards self indulgence. Otherwise you can end up with a game of chess where every piece is a queen.

There is the difference between a sandbox (i.e. a toy) and a game - you sometimes have to *force* the player to play the game the way it was intended, or you just end up with something that isnt fun (e.g. repetetive gameplay, or micromanagement hell). Moo3 tried to do this with IFPs. Maybe it couldve been made to work, maybe not - but one of the significant faults with the game now is that the player has the freedom to bore himself to death.

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#22 Post by Impaler » Mon Sep 08, 2003 10:19 am

I agree with you in Principle (limited ships, important design desisions ect ect). But I would always prefer a COST limiting factor over a RULE.

I say let the player do anything but charge some cost for each additional Design (a maintanace fee or Prototyping fee) and make it incressing more expenseive for each additional design. So now the player has a cost/benifit analysis for the number of designs and everything becomes self limiting to a predictable and managable number of designs. This way we have the best of both worlds.
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#23 Post by PowerCrazy » Mon Sep 08, 2003 10:34 pm

Hehe, I like your analogy
Otherwise you can end up with a game of chess where every piece is a queen.
And i can understand where your coming from but imposing an artificial limit like 6 designs does not solve that. I can easily make 6 designs that are identical and just have so many that i don't care about anythign else. I mean what if instead of 6 designs you could only have 1? That would certainly suck, ok how about 2? Is that the right number? 3? 4? For you it might be 6 but i personally prefer 10 or so, and someone else might prefer to have EVERY ship be unique, each half a generation ahead of the one before it. You shouldn't FORCE the player to do things your way, instead you should encourage the player to things in a certain way. But by no means should your way be the only way.

If you want players to have variety you need to give them a reason for variety. Make it hard to bomb a planet unless you have a specialized bomber, make it hard for ships to hit the swarms of fighters unless they have specialized weapons platforms, etc. Moo2 fleet composition ended up the way it did because of a few reasons.

#1 They took away the ability to make swarms of small ships.
#2 All ships could do anything (bomb, anti-fighter, ship-to-ship, go to Antares etc.)
#3 linked with #1 Titans and Doomstars were the best from a cost-efficiency view point, they built the most stuff for the cheapest and fastest.

So because of this there was no reason to build small ships except MAYBE at the beginning of the game, and there was no reason to vary the ship desgins very much because one weapon was just as effective at takeing out a planet as it was another ship so just pile on the most powerful weapons you have and viola your ship. Make 1000 and theres your fleet.

If we want a more dynamic fleet system we need to introduce various penalties and bonuses and other attributes to make the smaller ships a viable option.
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#24 Post by Daveybaby » Tue Sep 09, 2003 9:01 am

Impaler and Powercrazy, you are both correct of course. Imposing an arbitrary limit is not an ideal solution. Much better to cajole the player into playing the game in an interesting way - best of all dont even let the player realise that they are being manipulated. However, this is still being achieved by what are effectively arbitrary rules - just more subtle ones, such as defining how the economy works... or the physics of the combat engine... or the support costs for a particular type of unit.

However, this is of course MUCH more work than just plonking down an abitrary limit. Once you start trying to control the players actions through such subtle methods, you will have one hell of a job balancing these influences so that they have the desired effect throughout the game (i.e. as the players economy and tech evolve) without becoming either overpowering or insignificant at some point in the game. e.g. Moo2 and its attempts to limit shipbuilding via 'command points'. In the early game this was crippling - in the late game irrelevant.

Even moo3 had artificially imposed rules on ship design (or, at least, task force design) to try and force the player into designing balanced fleets (though, of course, it didnt take long for people to find ways around them). There are ideals to aim for in game design, and avoining arbitrary limits is one of them. In practice, however, sometimes you will probably have to just put a brick wall in front of the player to stop them doing something that ruins the gameplay.

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#25 Post by snakechia » Tue Sep 09, 2003 3:16 pm

daveybaby...you voice my exact thoughts on the subject. When you can do anything, some people have a tendency to do everything. The more options a player has, the more they have the ability to outplay the computer...and in a single player game that's just not good.

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#26 Post by Ablaze » Tue Sep 09, 2003 10:11 pm

The problem with making one strategy more advantageous then another strategy, rather then setting hard limits, is that it means that more research is required to get into the game.

If someone who has never played a 4x game before tries to build a ship with no engines and is allowed to and then the ship turns out to be almost useless then that player is struck by a much steeper learning curve then if the game had simply said, "You must put an engine in all your ships."

Simple hard limits make the game a lot easier to learn, and that makes it appeal to more people.
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#27 Post by Impaler » Wed Sep 10, 2003 5:27 pm

I see your points Hard/simple limits have their virtues and I am not oposed to using them when the situation warents it. I just feel that the game becomes deeper if they are less obvious.

For example here is a simple idea for alowing an unlimited number of Ship designs.

Each Active ship design you keep in your library (beyond the first) incresses the total fleet mantanace budget by 2%. So if I have 10 ship designs I have pay 120% of normal, if I had 30 ships I would be paying 160%! Obviosly I cant remain competitive unless I limit myself by balancing the cost against the advantage of using specialized ships.

Its not a hugly complex rule and if adicuitly explained it wont get any newbies hurt too badly.
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#28 Post by Ablaze » Wed Sep 10, 2003 11:14 pm

GalCiv is one place where hard rules abound, but one aspect of that game where they don't have hard rules is that of planetary buildings. Most buildings have a maintenance cost, and all of them give the planet some sort of advantage (like most 4x games.) However, there are times when even a building which increases your economy will cost more in maintenance then it will give the planet in added revenue. The cost/benefit ratio is not advertised anywhere and if you want to maximize efficiency you have to go into each of your planets, click the details button, check the numbers and do a calculation on your hand held calculator.

This is why, in GalCiv, your income seems to barely go up as your empire progresses.

Once you do all that and conclude that you will get more revenue out of the building as a heap of rubble.. then it sits there on your planetary building list taunting you. I have this urge to build every available building on a planet. You see.. I, like everyone else I know, have this perception that any building you build is going to improve some aspect of your empire. I naturally assume that when a planet has built every building available then it is the best it can be. Even when I know where the information is that would tell me if the building was an inefficient use of time and money I can't be bothered to do some sort of calculation for every building I build.

Even if there was some simple tool which gave you a cost/benefit analysis for every building your planet builds (like some sort of pie graph, perhaps.) It would still require a lot of micromanaging to make a decision about every building on every planet, and how would the graph give any meaningful info for buildings like research labs?

What I'm saying is, it is possible to remove hard limits and to give a player adequate feedback about every decision they encounter, but unless a great deal of info was carefully added about every minute detail of the game people would end up making bad decisions and not knowing why they keep building stock markets on all their planets but their income keeps falling.

I rarely see a game provide adequate feedback about even half of the cost/benefit ratios that you need to know to play it well, but a hard limit rarely even needs to be mentioned to be completely understandable to the player.
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#29 Post by Krikkitone » Tue Sep 16, 2003 3:48 pm

I definitely agree about the Cost/benefit issue.

I see two ways games Could deal with this.

1. Make All economic type buildings beneficial in all circumstances (bad removes player choice)

2. Have an autobuild that actually considers cost/benefit (I would have used MOO2's more if it avoided building things that were wastes of money in 90% of the circumstances, like food replicators)... this way if you don't have the desire to do calculations yourself, you can just turn on autobuild and insert the occasional thing you think is important.

3. Provide the info in a simplified manner.. ie in the description on the build screen, or encyclopedia for say a Atmospheric Processor, have "usefull for planets with pollution > 12"

1 I view as bad
2 as best (but hardest since MOO3 is the closest I've seen to a decent auto build in any of these games, and even it requires some coaxing)
3 something that should be in any game

However 1 Is useful sometimes..ie using the Engineless ship idea... if there is no possible reason to do something, the game should not allow you to do it. (although its better if you could take that decision and arrange the game engine so it might be useful ... an Engineless ship.. hey we have a designable orbital)

Regarding refit: As I've said in the Atari Forums, MOO1,2, and 3 all have 'refit'
With MOO1 you refit ship design #1 by scrapping redesigning and rebuilding ship design #1 (however you must scrap all ships before rebuilding any of them and at the same time as redesigning)
With MOO3 its a bit less restrictive as you can scrap As you rebuild and after you redesign
With MOO2 they combine scrapping and rebuilding into one step (but it is done on a ship by ship basis bad for micromanagement, and is incredibly cheap, bad for strategic decision making)

When ship design/refit comes up for FO I'd propose something similar to MOO2, but with higher cost and the ability to automate it somewhat ie a ship design can be targeted for refit to a new ship design, and then a planet could build 'autorefit' ..refiting any ships parked around it that needed to be refit.. one at a time.


Back to C/Benefit analysis, this is only possible when the cost and benefit are comparable, for example Money and Production/pollution in MOO2 are interchangable somewhat. Research/food and production/money are not.. although they are Somewhat by switching people around. So some of these decisions Could be made by an autobuild, although ones like defensive structures, cannot, and would best be inserted by the player because they are the only one that knows the value of the benefit.

As a matter of fact for MOO2 all economic buildings could Easily have been rated on the following scale

Definitely build
Build if you want to maximize (research/production/food) or have excess $
Definitely do not build (get better result for cheaper by switching people around)

With the following information available

food/industry/research/money productivities
current ratios of people in food/production/research
Food/industry population needs
Fantastic Trader (production /$ conversion rate)
Pollution levels


The formulas would probaly take at most an hour or so to write and should at least be available to the autobuild if not the player.
This would have left Military buildings and possibly Cloning centers as the only thing that couldn't be assessed on that basis.

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#30 Post by PowerCrazy » Tue Sep 16, 2003 11:13 pm

That would be good if this were moo2. However we aren't working on moo2 or 2.5 or etc. And buildings might not even be in the economy. (I for one am against them because it FORCES micro-management once you get quite a few planets.) The things you are complaining about will be addressed though. And i'm sure we will have various system that will allow you to macro-manage the empire without losing much (if any) of the bonus you get from Microing.
Aquitaine is my Hero.... ;)

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