DESIGN: Buildings / Build Queues / Infrastructure

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vishnou00
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#286 Post by vishnou00 » Tue Jun 15, 2004 7:18 pm

Krikkitone wrote:in a way that is sensible from how people play the game (your focus is your empire not your planets)
It comes down to want one means as your empire. If it managing military, economical, social and scientific, but not planet, you could achieve that with a small number of planet (say 10 habitable planets per player) that are very big (say averaging 25 time the development of your starting planet). You end up with a lot to do, without managing faceless rocks.

But I don't want to make an argue. I just want to show that planet micromanagement may be reduced by other ways than simplifying management options, reducing planet number for instance, or making the management process less tedious.

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#287 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:01 pm

emrys wrote: In the local build queue/ local build system, you would hand four notes to each secretary, each of them would type away, finishing when they finish. The whole thing would finish when the slowest one finshes their four.
Except that's not what would happen! You would give seven notes to the really fast secretary, four notes to the average ones, and two notes to the slow ones. They'd all finish at (about) the same time (or in the case of ships, they'd finish at times such that the feet all arrives at the rally point around the same time). That's why you need a *smart* macro tool that divies out the notes (ships) according to have fast they can be typed (built) by each secretary (at each world).

The results of ordering a bunch of worlds to collectively produce a bunch of stuff, at their own rates, could be stored in a global queue type system, but I want to maintain the ability to locally insert things into queues as well. Global queue implies that there's little or no consideration of where things will be built, whereas local queues imply significant consideration. These systems could be the same thing, I suppose, but implimenting a global queue that can elegantly deal with numerous independent orders with limitions where each can be filled sounds complicated...
... leads to it being more efficient to produce e.g. a research world by starting it off as an industrial world, building it up and then switching to research, which just seems perverse.
Two possible ways to view this:

1) If your focus (macro tool) setting is smart, it will start by building up industry and then switch to building labs once it has enough industry to support them. It would do this transition for you, so that you don't have to manually fiddle to optimize the time to build up a reasearch world.

or, alternatively,

2) If properly balanced, this represents a strategic tradeoff between a) a extra little research now, and a slow buildup towards full reserach capacity at the world and b) no extra reserach now, but an overall faster time until full research capacity is reached.

It would be necessary to balance things so in the long term, it's best to go with the industry first, research when ready route. The research now and hurt yourself longterm would be a strategic alternative that might be useful in some cases...

(more on rest later)

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#288 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Jun 16, 2004 12:48 am

emrys wrote: ...shipyard objects ... separate from planets [with] capacity limit [for] size/number of ships you can build, and you'd choose whether to build up the shipyards capacity to build more ships faster later or to build ships now.
Seems reasonable... I like the "build now, less later" vs. "improve now, build more later" tradeoff. Strategic Choices = good.

I would have suggested this myself, except that I'd worry that it complicates shipbuilding too much... Then again, if shipyards are the special rare thing they're supposed to be, it's probably not a huge issue to deal with improving and upgrading your shipyards.

Would it just be an abstracted "capacity" rating that you'd improve at some as-yet-undertermined rate, or would there be ratings for max PP / turn throughput of whole shipyard, max hull size you can build, types of components you can build, max simultaneous ships under construction or receiving maintainance (independent of PP limit) and other such things?

If shipyards are rare enough to have ratings that receive regular player attention, they might as well have detailed ratings... This would also give a reason to build ships at your interior, instead of the shipyard nearest the front... if upgrading shipyards themselves is a big investment, then it's probly too risky, expensive and time consuming to have fully upgraded ones near the front.


emrys wrote:I'm not at all in favour of the twist towards multiple shipyards producing ships which "appear" at a single rallypoint when the whole bunch is complete. If you were to place such a "job lot" order, I'd be happy for the system to autmatically allocate individual parts of that job to individual shipyards, that after all is the beauty of "the place at or before start of construction" system, but the ships should "roll off the line" as each completes, appearing on the galactic map, and then be given automatic orders to head off to the rally point, rather than the last part being abstracted, i.e. "hidden".
I concur.

But I don't think that even in the "limbo-build and appear at rally point" system were the ships all waiting for the whole order to be done before appearing at the rally point... they'd just pop up at the rally point over a few turns. I could be wrong though...

Having to fly where you're going, not teleporting at construction completion or via a 'reserve' system is also important.

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#289 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Jun 16, 2004 1:39 am

vishnou00 wrote:Defences are cheap and quick to build, but they have higher maintenance cost than building cost (it costs more to maintain than to build, so it's not a one shot investment for security), so you only maintain them when you need them. They would also be very hard to destroy by military units (unlike ships). They would also have a big defence potential, with a high hard maximum (maintenance cost sets the "soft" maximum) and a much bigger defence_power/ressource_spent than ships.
I think planets should generally be vulnerable targets, requiring fleets and/or expensive and time-consuming (to build *and* maintain) orbital defences to defend. If a planet can quickly build powerful defences, then there's no point in trying to outmanouvre an enemy fleet to take out a specific powerhouse production / research planet behind the front lines. Similarly, if you can build up and dispose of your defences on planets quickly and easily with no significant cost (since it's only maintainance that's expensive), then you don't even need a defensive fleet. You could just sit and build and research, confident in your ability to fend of any attack that comes your way by rush building massive planetary defences...
I don't like autobuild of different types of building ... I want to have the choice to pay for maintenance or not, not having a hard limitation on building quantity (unless they are unique by design, like a Civ Great wonder).
There are two kinds of "buildings", I believe:

1) The Civ Great wonder kind, that are quite a large undertaking with big benefits. You would likely specify when/where to build one of these.

2) The generic factories / farms / mines / labs, which are built automatically according to the focus setting of the planet. There are dozens or hundreds of these on a planet, simply indicated by a number of each. The details of cost, maintainance, upgrading, when to build, damage, repair and such probably haven't yet been determined... but it won't be direct player intervetion / micromanagement, I imagine. It would probably almost always be beneficial to build more of these, though environmental damage or increasing upkeep could be limiting factors.

Discussing "autobuild" needs to specifiy which of these is being discussed...

The latter almost need to be automatically built, to avoid huge amounts of micro which don't add much to the game. These probably can't be easily abstracted away however, without leaving the player confused as to why the production of a world is what it is, why changing it is taking as long as it is and other such things. The emergent dynamics of a system as described for farms / mines etc. would likely be more interesting and intricate for gameplay purposes as well... (as opposed to any abstract made up delays or equations to follow when dealing with focus effects and changes).
I like minefields, that's the way Stars! made space non-uniform. I don't know the consequences when mixed with starlanes.
Minefields could be located in a particular system only. They would be a factor in tactital combat... not in interstellar fleet movements.

I could go either way though... no strong opinion.
What's the good to have 120 planet when you just build things on 20% of them? Just have a galaxy with less planets.
Why have many planets per system if there exist only system wide defence and no planetary defences? Just have it abstracted as one "planetary system".
You claim to be all for great gameplay, yet you sacrifice ideas for the sake of clinging to the Master of Orion models.
More stuff = better epic sense of scale

Many of the conventions (multiple planets / system, dozens to hundreds of systems in an empire) aren't specific to Master of Orion, or even the 4X genre... they're the popular conception of space opera in most people's minds. The Dune series or Star Wars or the Foundation series or Trek all have single political groups or empires covering many many stars (as do the 4X games).
I'm sorry, but if you want to do a Master of Orion game, there will be a complexity from the scope of the game world. Those complexities are bound to create a lot of management. The key is to have tools to make that management macro management (high level decisions) instead of micro management (low level decisions).
Definitely agree.

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#290 Post by vishnou00 » Wed Jun 16, 2004 4:37 am

@Geoff the Medio (2 first parts of the post)

The high maintenance cost (that must be funded locally) means that a planet is an easy target IF its supplies lines are cut and remain cut. So an outmanuvering fleet would have to blockade the planet long enough for it to deplete its local ressources so defences crumble under the weight of maintenance.

The planetary defences would be very efficient, but they are defences: they only shoot on things that attacks them. If an ennemy fleet only maintains a blockade, it will be unscathed (unless the defenders have ships). But the defences aren't absolute. If it is an armada attacking the planet, it will crush any defences.

The build mechanics could be a little different. The defences could be relatively expensive and time-consuming to build and maintain, but usually "turned off" (they would exist with little maintenance cost). The "turning on" process would not be instantaneous (like 1 or 2 turns). It is to make suprise attack a more interesting option, since you are not always ready state.

========

Here is an idea I had for the 2) buildings (generic infracstructure):

To avoid Industry being the absolute ressource for world development, infrastructure could require its respective ressource to be constructed, as well as a small part of the other one.

It makes sense, as a university needs professors to be build. A farm is a little bit of construction, but a lot of work from farmer to create the field.

What it would mean, ingame:

Food infrastructure (farm):
Yellow wheat: 40
Blue cog: 2
Green vial: 5
Red thing: 1

Industry infrastructure (factory):
Yellow wheat: 2
Blue cog: 40
Green vial: 1
Red thing: 5

Research infrastructure (lab):
Yellow wheat: 1
Blue cog: 5
Green vial: 40
Red thing: 2

Money infrastructure (market/luxury):
Yellow wheat: 5
Blue cog: 1
Green vial: 2
Red thing: 40

Infractucture would be build automatically, controled by a slider-like control that control haw much ressources is diverted in planet development.

========

Even though I stated the idea, I don't like the idea of having less system (I like epic scale of 4X), but managing a lot is dull. If we could have MANY players in a game (more than 32) we could have something epic without epic managament (but more politics). It would be more of a team game with 2-3 huge alliances, and maybe different kind of players (an admiral, who just manage fleets, a governor, who just manage worlds, a general, managing planetary invasion, if it becomes an interesting process, or a lord, managing everything in a smaller region).

Crazy idea!!
Last edited by vishnou00 on Wed Jun 23, 2004 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#291 Post by emrys » Wed Jun 16, 2004 9:14 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
emrys wrote: In the local build queue/ local build system, you would hand four notes to each secretary, each of them would type away, finishing when they finish. The whole thing would finish when the slowest one finshes their four.
Except that's not what would happen! You would give seven notes to the really fast secretary, four notes to the average ones, and two notes to the slow ones. They'd all finish at (about) the same time (or in the case of ships, they'd finish at times such that the feet all arrives at the rally point around the same time). That's why you need a *smart* macro tool that divies out the notes (ships) according to have fast they can be typed (built) by each secretary (at each world).
Well, yes. The point of course is that this distibution would occur at the start, either by the tedious micromanagement of a player, or alleviated by a macro tool. There is no dynamism to it, e.g. if one of the secretaries went on a course and got faster at typing (a planet built something that boosted it's industry heavily), their lists would not be rearranged, because once something is stuck into 'their' queue, that's where it is until it gets built.

The difference between this and my suggestion is that in local build/local queue the only 'empire' level view, would be a screen that showed each planets' queue side by side i.e.

Code: Select all

planet 1  planet 2  planet 3  planet 4 
  A          B        B         C
  A          C        C         B
  A                   B         
Note that there is no simple way of deciding which of the projects is higher priority than any other, so automatically shipping production around becomes nightmarish.

Whereas with the empire level queue, local build I'm proposing the logical view would be:

Code: Select all

project   location
   A       1-building
   A       1-pending
   B       2-building
   B       3-building
   C       4-building 
   C       unassigned
   A       1-pending
   B       unassigned
   C       3-pending
   B       unassigned
You, and the system, know at a glance the relative priority of the projects, and the allocation system can automatically handle changes in capability of the build locations.
Global queue implies that there's little or no consideration of where things will be built, whereas local queues imply significant consideration.
This is indicative of the conceptual problem caused by the conflation of two issues, queue scope and build location. "Global build" requires their to be no consideration of build location, "local queue" requires there to be no flexibility in build location. "local build with global queue" allows any degree in between, transparently, under one system.

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#292 Post by vishnou00 » Wed Jun 16, 2004 11:29 am

@emrys

Tell me if I'm don't see it right, but it seems to me your global tool is only a (UI) management tool that ease the task of rearranging projects to different locations. I don't see any (icky) production pooling and (gross) supply teleportation between worlds. I like what I see!

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#293 Post by emrys » Wed Jun 16, 2004 4:26 pm

Unfortunately, you don't see it right.

My suggestion involves production pooling, in that every non-blockaded world would contribute it's production to a central pool. And it involves supply teleportation, in that this pool would be dolled out to the worlds working on projects in order down the empire list, applying as much of the empire's pool to each location as that location could take in that turn. (my suggested way of calculating this 'max spending' limit is fairly symetric between industrial and non-industrial worlds, (i.e. non-industrial worlds could spend as much as e.g. industry:balanced worlds, specifically twice the PP output of the industry:balanced worlds), though worlds producing more industry than industry:balanced (e.g. double industry, or with special major buildings) would could perhaps spend more, i.e. twice their actual PP output.

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#294 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Jun 16, 2004 6:58 pm

emrys: Your preferred design, ie: empire supply pool with no penalty for distance and no effect of planet focus on abilty to produce at a given world, seems specifically chosen to remove many (any?) strategic choices that a player could make.

Why?!

Is it not an interesting and worthwhile aspect of gameplay to require a chioce between industrial production (especially capacity to spend) and other planetary output? (especially with regard to location)

I prefer either :

a) no pooling of PP (and minerals shipping by automated transports)

b) instamagic pooling of PP with hard or soft limits on spending at a given world that depend on world's (specifically) industrial level of development (industrial focus > balanced > other focus) and optional shipping of minerals. (Not a generalized development level that's the same for all worlds with same population)

c) no pooling whatsoever (not even minerals),

(preferred in order a over b over c)

I prefer these specifically because they require hard choices by the player... and there is strategic importance to where you put your production worlds.

Whether the queue is technically globalized or localized or some smart hybrid is less important than these strategic issues... Our global vs. smart local queues are almost the same anyway.

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#295 Post by drek » Wed Jun 16, 2004 7:21 pm

Remember, it's a game not a simulation.

Many of us are thinking of something more along the lines of Axis and Allies in Space, rather than SimGalaxy.

What's important is the *feel* of running a interstellar empire, not the actual details of resource pooling. I doubt Darth Vader cared how the Imperial Space Truckers moved all that material to the small moon of Endor (which, btw, didn't look like it had a huge Industry score.)

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#296 Post by Aquitaine » Wed Jun 16, 2004 7:46 pm

Drek makes a very good point. At times like these, when we have a very detailed discussion and a very important issue at hand, it helps to check in with our ultimate goals -- our mission, our design philosophy, everything. There have been a lot of fascinating ideas in the past that have lost out just because, while they've been game-worthy ideas, it's just not the same game we're building.

I won't comment on any specifics in this thread just yet - I hope to be able to distill all of this into phase 2 of the public review within a few days, or, at the latest, next week.
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#297 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Jun 16, 2004 7:54 pm

Drek: Good points... but:

All galactic empires don't have to "feel" the same way...

In Star Wars, one could travel across the galaxy in a day or week. That sort of empire would (should) have a much different "feel" that one that's many months' or years' travel across. Penalty-free pooled production, if a significant part of "feel", would probably be appropriate in this case.

And there is more than "feel" involved in this decision... It's a strategy game, right? Since we're making up the rules for how an empire works for a strategy game, it seems reasonable to design those rules such that there is some actual strategy involved when appropriate and possible. More so, I think a goal should be to have as many interesting and worthwhile strategic choices as possible and practical.

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#298 Post by Hexxium » Wed Jun 16, 2004 8:29 pm

I agree, for me that's the most important point too.

I won't repeat my arguments here, but please don't limit the number of viable strategies just to reduce micromanagement.

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#299 Post by Krikkitone » Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:08 pm

Unfortunately, a realistic logistics has Major problems for micro. The various ways that production distribution could be handled (from worst to best IMO)

1. Supply Trains: Very Very bad for micro purposes, number of routes that have to be managed is ~the square of the number of planets. Has the advantage that distance is an actual strategic factor

2. Global Pool no limit (really cuts down on strategy as a new world would be operational in 1 turn with 100 developed planets behind it. Also worlds would be 'fully developed' one at a time, rather than all growing step by step.)
Very Good for Micropurposes though

3. Local only... any resources not used locally are stockpiled or wasted. (this could be done with any resource, Money, Industry, Food, Research (if it was done with Minerals then they would probably have to stop fueling Industry as their major function))
However this would be Very annoying. [but interesting..perhaps your empire Does run like this until you achieve certain techs]
*Note: this is how we are running population growth (dependent on local Factors only)
Good for Micropurposes


4. Global Pool Soft Limits (MOO2 rush building..there is no limit on the max production of a world, but it will be inefficient if it is above a certain rate, ie involving conversion to and from Money)
Bad for Micropurposes (especially if the diminishing returns formula is complex)

5. Global Pool Hard limits (all spending rates allowed on a world/project are equally efficient or not allowed)
**Note: this is Identical to 'Local only' if the spending limit is equal to the production rate
Good for Micropurposes (slightly better than 'Local Only')

6. Global Pool Mixed Limits (MOO1 type rush building.. you can speed it past the normal limit by 'overburning' inefficiently but only so much.. max double rate)
Good for Micropurpose (not quite as good as 'Local Only')


One of the big problems with 'Local only' is how it relates to infrastructures (Farms/Factories,etc.) If they all require Production to build, then a 'Local Distribution' model means all 'New worlds' need to be Industrial to grow well. Instead the better 'cap' for Infrastructure is the Infrastructures themselves. So have them grow like population, the max rate of spending investment/spontaneous improvement [depending on whether they cost anything] is based on their current value. The more farms you have Here, the more farms you get Here next turn (if you have the PP Somewhere).



[Actually, you Could move the game from one point to the other.. ie a Tech could be required to move from a Local model to a 'Hard/Mixed Cap Model' for various different resources.. ie Research would probably be redistributed easily throughout the galaxy, but Food/Industry/Minerals/Money might have to be produced on the planet they are used on..until techs allows them to be distributed first throughout the system and then later throughout your empire. (a total of up to 8 techs, two 'distribution improvements' for each resource).. you might be able to do that with population too, a tech that allowed high population worlds to slightly increase the growth of low population worlds]

That would preserve different flavors throughout the game.. early on you set up self sufficient colonies, maybe importing Minerals from a planet inthe same system... later you can totally specialize entire systems

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#300 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Jun 17, 2004 12:06 am

Krikkitone wrote: 1. Supply Trains: Very Very bad for micro purposes, number of routes that have to be managed is ~the square of the number of planets. Has the advantage that distance is an actual strategic factor
I would argue that the number of routes grows more like ~(the number of planets) than ~(number of planets squared). Based on the focus system, say every 5th world is an industrial world with lots of production to export. Each ind. world would thus have about 4 worlds it exports to, and few / no other interactions. It's not like ever world that's importing gets a little from every exporting world, or (worse still) every world sends and receives a little from and to every other world. Maybe you'd have some supply depots or somesuch in the middle to shorten the round trips (and adding a few more interactions)... but things wouldn't have to be THAT bad...

That said, I acknowlege that this system may be more trouble than it's worth, and unpopular with the macro-skeptics.
5. Global Pool Hard limits (all spending rates allowed on a world/project are equally efficient or not allowed) ...

6. Global Pool Mixed Limits (MOO1 type rush building.. you can speed it past the normal limit by 'overburning' inefficiently but only so much.. max double rate) ...
I'm not clear on the mechanism of rushing or the nature of the limits in these two. Are both using pooled PP and just different words for the same thing (with different kinds of limits), or is one with money and the other imported PP?

I'm warming up to the system where you can import up to some multiple (depending on tech and race probably) of your normal ("natural"?) production. (That is, your production this very moment, not your production if you switched focus to industrial). It seems like a happy medium between massive micro and no strategy. (or little micro and good strategy, if you're a half-full kind of person)
One of the big problems with 'Local only' is how it relates to ... (Farms/Factories,etc.) If they all require Production to build, then ... all 'New worlds' need to be Industrial to grow well. Instead the better 'cap' for Infrastructure is the Infrastructures themselves. So have them grow like population, the max rate of spending ... is based on their current value.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, this doesn't strike me as a problem. It represents a strategic tradeoff between a) building farms/labs immediately and getting immediate benefit in those areas, or b) building only factories at first and delaying the buildup of farms/labs, but getting to "full capacity" quicker in the long run (and hopefully gaining more total food/reserach when the whole growth curve is integrated)

How would farm/lab growth dependent on # of farms/labs work with the focus settings? I envisioned the focus setting determining what you spent your available PP to build at a world. If you're limited more by how many farms you already have, as opposed to how many PP you have, then you'd probly end up growing farms/labs/mines/factories all at the max rate, meaning focus is meaningless...?

Note that this is relevant even if strictly local production isn't used (and it doesn't seem likely to be). How much you can improve your infrastructre with your local PP or some multiple of your local PP still depends on how many PP you have locally. Similarly, how many farms you can build independent of how many PP you have would still depend on how many farms you have (though I don't think it should...)
a Tech could be required to move from a Local model to a 'Hard/Mixed Cap Model' for various ... (a total of up to 8 techs, two 'distribution improvements' for each resource)..
I like this also. It could be rationalized as long-distance matter teleportation that can't be used on living things... or very large things in one piece... so you could send minerals, or partially fabricated stuff / parts (as PP), but not crewed nor just built but uncrewed ships, nor people (until much later). Sending dead organic matter (food) might be an intermediate step. The constant multiple of local PP that forms the limit on use of imported PP could also change as a result of tech.

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