Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

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Oberlus
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Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#1 Post by Oberlus »

Two objectives:
  1. Make possible tall vs Wide strategic differentiation.
  2. Improve usability and usefulness of Terraforming and Gaia.
For 1 we need (at least) two changes:

1A: Further differentiate bonuses from growth techs:
  • Wide: focused on getting access to worse environments (more planets) and increasing pop. in those environments, hardly improving habitability of good planets.
  • Tall: focused on increasing population on better environments and improving the environments (terraforming).
1B: Make the overall population bonuses from terraforming/gaia similar to those from getting new planets, and give them costs proportional to that of getting new planets. We can achieve that by adjusting the bonuses so that population gain from terraforming one step (from env. A to B) is similar to getting a new planet of env. A.

For 2 we need 1B and make the buildings require less micromanagement.


Suggested changes:

"Wide" (environment tolerance) pop. bonuses, affected by species trait, give more bonuses to poor and hostile:
Tech Good Adeq. Poor Host. Notes
Symbiotic Biology 1 2 1
Xeno. Genetics 1 2 2
Xeno Hybrids 1 1 3
Cyborgs 1 2 3 Troops bonus

"Tall" (habitability) pop. bonuses, unaffected by species trait, give more bonuses to good and adequate and less to poor and hostile:
Tech Good Adeq. Poor Host. Notes
Subterranean Hab. 1 1
Orbital Hab. 2 1 1
N-Dimensional Str. 4 2 1 1
Terraforming Improves environment one step
Gaia 4 Automatic terraforming effect

Gaia is allowed in any colony (instead of just good env. ones) and becomes the automatic terraforming. Production costs and time depends on environment tolerance:
PP cost: adequate x2, poor x3, hostile x5.
Turns: adequate x1.5, poor x2, hostile x3.
Turning it into automatic greatly reduces terraforming micromanagement late game, and increases simplicity of use: you only have to build one building per planet, and you know in advance how much will it cost to get to good+gaia environment.


I still have to crunch numbers for base terraforming and gaia costs depending on colony ship costs.
And review tech prerequisites to not force tall empires to research wide techs when going for terraforming and gaia (gaia can have simbiotic biology but not the xeno. techs or any expensive prereq. of those).

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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#2 Post by Oberlus »

Tables of population per environment, tech level and strategy for tiny planets:


Going tall: Sub. Hab and Symb. Bio (T1), Orb. Hab. (T2), N-Dim. Str. and Xeno. Gen. (T3), Gaia (T4):
Tier and Strategy Good Adeq. Poor Host.
T1 Tall 5 3 -1 -4
T2 Tall 7 4 0 -4
T3 Tall 11 7 3 -1
T4 Tall 15 7 3 -1
Poor unlocked at T1 with 2 specials, self-sustaining or blue-star phototrophic; T2 with 1 special or white-star photo.; T3 otherwise.
Hostile unlocked at T3 with 2 specials, self-sustaining or blue-star phototrophic; impossible otherwise.


Going wide: Sub. Hab and Symb. Bio (T1), Xeno. Gen. (T2), Xeno. Hyb. and Orb. Hab. (T3), Cyborgs (T4):
Tier and Strategy Good Adeq. Poor Host.
T1 Wide 5 3 -1 -4
T2 Wide 5 4 1 -2
T3 Wide 7 6 3 1
T4 Wide 7 7 5 4
Poor unlocked at T1 with 2 specials, self-sustaining or blue-star phototrophic; T2 otherwise.
Hostile unlocked at T2 with 3 specials, self-sustaining or blue-star phototrophic; T3 otherwise.


Going both strategies simultaneously: Sub. Hab and Symb. Bio (T1), Xeno. Gen. and Orb. Hab. (T2), Xeno. Hyb. and N-Dim. Str. (T3), Gaia and Cyborgs (T4):
Tier and Strategy Good Adeq. Poor Host.
T1 Tall&Wide 5 3 -1 -4
T2 Tall&Wide 7 5 2 -2
T3 Tall&Wide 11 8 4 2
T4 Tall&Wide 15 9 6 5
Poor unlocked at T1 with 2 specials, self-sustaining or blue-star phototrophic; T2 otherwise
Hostile unlocked at T2 with 3 specials, self-sustaining or blue-star phototrophic; T3 otherwise.

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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#3 Post by Oberlus »

Same tables for current values in master:


Going tall: Sub. Hab and Symb. Bio (T1), Orb. Hab. (T2), N-Dim. Str. and Xeno. Gen. (T3), Gaia (T4):
Tier and Strategy Good Adeq. Poor Host.
T1 Tall 5 2 0 -3
T2 Tall 6 3 1 -2
T3 Tall 8 7 5 1
T4 Tall 11 7 5 1
Poor unlocked at T1 with 1 special, self-sustaining or white-star phototrophic; T2 otherwise.
Hostile unlocked at T2 with 3 specials, self-sustaining or blue-star phototrophic; T3 otherwise.


Going wide: Sub. Hab and Symb. Bio (T1), Xeno. Gen. (T2), Xeno. Hyb. and Orb. Hab. (T3), Cyborgs (T4):
Tier and Strategy Good Adeq. Poor Host.
T1 Wide 5 2 0 -3
T2 Wide 5 4 2 -2
T3 Wide 6 5 4 1
T4 Wide 6 5 4 3
Poor unlocked at T1 with 1 special, self-sustaining or white-star phototrophic; T2 otherwise.
Hostile unlocked at T2 with 3 specials, self-sustaining or blue-star phototrophic; T3 otherwise.


Going both strategies simultaneously: Sub. Hab and Symb. Bio (T1), Xeno. Gen. and Orb. Hab. (T2), Xeno. Hyb. and N-Dim. Str. (T3), Gaia and Cyborgs (T4):
Tier and Strategy Good Adeq. Poor Host.
T1 Tall&Wide 5 2 0 -3
T2 Tall&Wide 6 5 3 -1
T3 Tall&Wide 8 7 6 3
T4 Tall&Wide 11 7 6 5
Poor unlocked at T1 with 1 special, self-sustaining or white-star phototrophic; T2 otherwise
Hostile unlocked at T2 with 2 specials, self-sustaining or white-star phototrophic; T3 otherwise.

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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#4 Post by Oberlus »

To balance cost and population return from terraforming&gaia (tall) vs getting new colonies (wide), I'm making calculations for different scenarios of available environments. An example:

Available 2 good, 3 adeq. and 4 poor, all medium size, with standard colony upkeep.
Wide T2 colonizes (outpost plus colony building) the 9 planets: needs 1218 PP (not counting hulls, around 100), gets 30 population and 9x flat bonuses
Tall T2 colonizes the 2 good and 3 adeq. and terraforms the three adeq. to good: needs 1498 PP (not counting hulls, around 50), gets 35 population and 5x flat bonuses.
In this case wide gives 5% more population return and 80% more flat bonuses than tall.

Available 6 good, 9 adeq., 12 poor, all medium size, standard colony upkeep.
Wide T3 colonizes all 27 planets: needs 6752 PP, gets 78 pop. and 27x flat bonuses.
Tall T2 colonizes 6 good, 9 adeq. and 1 poor, terraforms the non-good planets to good: needs 6371 PP, gets 112 pop and 16x flat bonuses.
Now Tall is getting 50% more population return.

The greater the number of colonies, the better terraforming becomes.
This is caused by the colony cost factor (that 1.06^N) that does not affect terraforming.
If we make terraforming competitive with wide expansion early game, it becomes a no-brainer late game (i.e. when you can terraform or colonize, do terraform).
If we do the balance to make both comparably competitive mid game, then you should favor early colonization and late terraforming.
I'd like the strategic choices between wide and tall to be possible for most of the game, not during a narrow period.

For this we either remove the colony cost factor (and rely only on influence upkeep to slowdown exponential growth) or add a similar cost factor to terraforming, so that both grow at similar rates.

I'm for the former: remove colony cost factor.

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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#5 Post by Krikkitone »

That makes sense. And if influence costs penalize wide too much, make them depend more on population and less on number of planets/systems.

(you could also allow additional expensive levels of “terraforming” late game)

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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#6 Post by drkosy »

In this case wide gives 5% more population return and 80% more flat bonuses than tall.
To balance the more flat bonus of wide ether the boni per pop should grow or the flat boni should be cut. At the moment Adaptive Automation gives 2 PP per Colony. Solar Orbital Generator gives 0.4 PP per Pop. The former example gives: 112 - 78 = 34 pop more for tall. That makes 0.4x34 = 13.6 PP extended bonus compared to wide. Wide gets (27 - 16) * 2 = 22PP extended bonus compared to tall.
That means it will be still more interessting to colonize as many planets as possible.

On the other hand exactly the flat boni makes it interessting to coloinze tiny planets. I think that's great because otherwise tiny planets could become totally irrelevant without groth-special or native-spezies with growth focus...

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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#7 Post by drkosy »

At fist I like the idea to make terraforming more interesting. So I played a game without the last pop-techs (xeno-hybrinds and cyborgs). Due to growth specials I was able to colonize every planet but the hostile ones with low pop. So terraforming becomes important for me. Maybe it could be discussed, if one or two of that population related techs could be dropped.

On the other hand sometimes you have to terraform a planet two times for small effect (e.g. inferno for human goes from hostile to hostile to poor). That consumes a lot of time and production. In MOO2 you always had an effect (radiated to barren removed that maintenance malus, barren to dessert allowed farming...) So it always was worth to invest the production to terraform a planet. Maybe with 0.5 the environment could be connected to stability to achieve that...

To reduce the building time would make it possible to settle a hostile planet and terraform it quickly to save some settlers and save the colony. That could be used especally for the tall scheme.

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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#8 Post by Oberlus »

Xeno gens. and hybrids won't be dropped, that would make wide strategy impractical.

I think adjusting the pop. bonuses from techs for each environment is the way to go to make terraforming appealing for tall empires.

The tall strategy is expected to rely on good/adequate early game, also on poor mid game (late game everybody is tall&wide). There should be no need for hostile planets if we get things right.

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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#9 Post by LienRag »

Oberlus wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:59 pm Two objectives:
  1. Make possible tall vs Wide strategic differentiation.
  2. Improve usability and usefulness of Terraforming and Gaia.
For 1 we need (at least) two changes:

1A: Further differentiate bonuses from growth techs:
  • Wide: focused on getting access to worse environments (more planets) and increasing pop. in those environments, hardly improving habitability of good planets.
  • Tall: focused on increasing population on better environments and improving the environments (terraforming).
1B: Make the overall population bonuses from terraforming/gaia similar to those from getting new planets, and give them costs proportional to that of getting new planets. We can achieve that by adjusting the bonuses so that population gain from terraforming one step (from env. A to B) is similar to getting a new planet of env. A.

For 2 we need 1B and make the buildings require less micromanagement.


Suggested changes:

"Wide" (environment tolerance) pop. bonuses, affected by species trait, give more bonuses to poor and hostile:
Why not, that could be a path to follow.
Two caveats though :
You should certainly not end with better habitability of Poor nor Adequate planets over Good ones (this was a problem once IIRC?).
With different species (who have different environmental preferences) it’s possible to colonize the whole Galaxy without ever settling a Poor environment.


And obvioulsy making Terraforming less micromanagy is good.
Don't know if terraformed planets should be able to get Gaïa, though.


Oberlus wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:04 am I'm for the former: remove colony cost factor.
Wow ! That’s a strong take.
Now that we have Influence we may envision the option of removing Colony cost factor (I’d advise to wait for Influence to actually work though), but that’s a very fundamental change, it shouldn’t be made lightly.
The least I can figure out is that at endgame (and even middle-game) it will mean that spamming Colonies like no one is watching will be extremely easy Production-wise. We better have good Influence mechanisms to cope with that…


If you want to have some planets really more important than others in terms of Population (indeed the main factor of the game) I think it’s more size and specials that should be targeted rather than environment.
Maybe have Techs that multiply the population bonus on planets with a Growth special ? With the inconvenient that if the planet is put to a Growth focus, this pop bonus is lost (except for Distributed Thought Computing)…
Also have Techs that give bonus to specific System configurations ? Like a bonus to Organic metabolism for a Terran planet that is in the same system than an Oceanic one...
And, more importantly, have Techs (« Gravitic Assist » for Mechanic theme or « Antigravity nanites » for Organic theme or whatever) that give much bigger boni to Huge and Large planets than to Medium, Small and Tiny ones.


drkosy wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:24 pm To reduce the building time would make it possible to settle a hostile planet and terraform it quickly to save some settlers and save the colony.
Interesting idea, I like it. It shouldn’t be easy/cheap to do though. Maybe some non-renewable « terraforming juice » available at start ? Or just a very high cost ?

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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#10 Post by drkosy »

Interesting idea, I like it. It shouldn’t be easy/cheap to do though. Maybe some non-renewable « terraforming juice » available at start ? Or just a very high cost ?
Indeed it's not easy to balance that. If it's to cheap it becomes a no brainer, if it's to expensive it would be easier to just invent the next growth tech. Maybe it could be balanced by some growth malus. Something like "the colonists mourning for the died species". That could slow down growth for some turns (e.g. 5 turns have growth).

I think it should only be interesting at early to mid game. In late game you still would have enough growth specials and techs to settle all planets. At the beginning you should only be able to use this strategy for planets which have to be teraformed on step (e.g. poor -> adequat) and maybe you should need the 3 pop tech for new colonies. That would open a new research path to rush for teraforming and lifecycle manipulation instead of Xeno genetics and Xeno hybrids.

In my opinion it should be usable in early game by good researches and in early to mid game for good producers. That means it could be enough to have a moderate pricing with growth malus for some turns to make it an option but not a must do.

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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#11 Post by Ophiuchus »

LienRag wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:53 pm
drkosy wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:24 pm To reduce the building time would make it possible to settle a hostile planet and terraform it quickly to save some settlers and save the colony.
Interesting idea, I like it. It shouldn’t be easy/cheap to do though. Maybe some non-renewable « terraforming juice » available at start ? Or just a very high cost ?
Having some early terraforming option maybe could be another way to relieve the bad starting position problem - narrow tolerance species get an extra ship with a colony survival ship part, deploying it creates a special on the planet which upgrades the environment automagically to a poor environment after settling.
Starting with two colonies would also work of course, or making sure a good (or at least adequate) environment planet is in reach for each player's homeworld. Starting with two colonies is a lot less interesting in a narrative sense than having one and settling on another planet.

Having it non-renewable is a bit immersion-breaking/hard to fluff away. High PP cost is always relative. It could also be a time-consuming alternative to terraforming (cheaper, but taking much longer) which would get obsolete once you have good tech (because having the colony earlier provides resources earlier). Normal terraforming for the first step costs 100PP per size and takes eight turns. Saying the turning point should be at 5 resources, and let setting up the colony survival infrastructure take ten turns more one could build normal terraforming, then the survival infrastructure should cost 50PP.

Also providing this lesser type of terraforming for normal cost but much earlier research-wise would help.

It could also be a influence project (inspiring the whole society to spend unreasonable amounts of effort), like the race to land on the moon or what settling on mars could be right now. That should keep its use rare and well fitting to the start.

Actually i do not want all planets to be settled easily. So maybe we should be doing this for the poor to adequate step. Or we should regularly add planet-specials which make the planets less/more suitable to certain metabolism regardless of species environment preferences, reducing the baseline population for planets overall (and maybe having a policy to offset that).
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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#12 Post by Oberlus »

Going tall should imply narrow, otherwise it would be short&wide vs tall&wide... Hardly a dilemma.

If you rush for early access to more environments (more colonies, wide), you should have short populations. And vice versa, going for greater populations should delay access to poorer environments.

So no early terraforming of poor planets.

Early terraforming (earlier than now) will be constrained: max distance from original env. is 1 at start, tech refinements allow more.

A terraforming ship part is long due. When in a system with unowned planets or owned by you, it would enable a button "terraform" that creates the same effect that the building but towards the env. preferred by the terraforming ship species. It would not turn unowned planets into outposts. Cost and time of the part similar to that of the terraforming building.

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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#13 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:51 am A terraforming ship part is long due. When in a system with unowned planets or owned by you, it would enable a button "terraform" that creates the same effect that the building but towards the env. preferred by the terraforming ship species. It would not turn unowned planets into outposts. Cost and time of the part similar to that of the terraforming building.
Implementation wise: increase instability on that planet, and if instability is high enough the environment flips, in a ship is terraforming, flips to the species. Pressing "terraform" is exclusive to a single ship, enemy can shoot it down before flipping, the owner can "stop terraforming" or fly somewhere else to stop the process. There may be residue instability after flipping, left alone instability could slowly return to zero. Sounds reasonable.

Also this might be some kind of attack (making the environment worse on a populated planet) or support for allies.

And the ship would need to be used up. Oh, you probably meant the terraforming process to be done without instability/in a single turn. That would allow storing turns in the ship - not sure if we want that.

Anyway now somebody has to implement that button mechanic ;)

The necessity for a ship instead of doing a project on the planet (which would be less micromanagy) solves the ownership issue and the choice of environment issue. Of course having to take ownership first via an outpost and having a clockwise and anti-clockwise terraforming would also be reasonably reasonable.
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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#14 Post by Oberlus »

Ophiuchus wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:14 pm Implementation wise: increase instability on that planet, and if instability is high enough the environment flips, in a ship is terraforming, flips to the species. Pressing "terraform" is exclusive to a single ship, enemy can shoot it down before flipping, the owner can "stop terraforming" or fly somewhere else to stop the process. There may be residue instability after flipping, left alone instability could slowly return to zero. Sounds reasonable.
What's instability? A new meter?

Wouldn't it be simpler to just make it the same that an outpost ship, but calling to SetPlanetType with some tricky calculation to get the right parameter for "type"?
Also this might be some kind of attack (making the environment worse on a populated planet) or support for allies.
I would not bother on this before fixing bombardment.
And the ship would need to be used up. Oh, you probably meant the terraforming process to be done without instability/in a single turn. That would allow storing turns in the ship - not sure if we want that.
Yes. It would be like investing the PPs of the terraforming building somewhere else and then bring it to the planet you want to terraform. It could be used to accelerate terraforming of new planets at the expense of getting new planets at a slower rate (the PPs you invest in the terraforming ships are not invested on outpost ships or colony buildings).
I see no balance issue with that, but should be playtested.
Anyway now somebody has to implement that button mechanic ;)
Meh. I hope its easy to reuse code from the outpost/colony parts that trigger their corresponding buttons in the GUI... Not that I'm planning on doing it myself.

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Re: Rework pop. bonuses for Tall vs Wide and Terraforming

#15 Post by drkosy »

Going tall should imply narrow, otherwise it would be short&wide vs tall&wide... Hardly a dilemma.
That was never on my mind as I suggested it. I only thought of something making teraforming more interesting. I don't think there is need of new mechanics for that. It should just be more usable. To give it a more powerful effect (by adding more max pop) is one great thing. Another could be to use it more often.
Actually i do not want all planets to be settled easily. So maybe we should be doing this for the poor to adequate step.
I fully agree to that :)

Another thing could be, to just allow terraforming on outposts. Same cost and tech as now. Problem would just be to set the step manually due lack of algorithm that will forecast which species will settle that planet... Next problem would be: that could counter the idea of tall vs. wide because it's easy to terraform any planet.

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