Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

Moderators: Oberlus, Oberlus

Message
Author
User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 2697
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#1 Post by Oberlus » Mon May 11, 2020 11:12 am

There is a huge difference, in terms of RP and turns needed to get a Black Hole Power Generator (BHPG), between having a black hole with planets nearby and having to create one from a red star.

With readily available BH with planets:
Minimum turns to get the techs: 22 turns.
Total RP expenditure: 1094 RP.
Then 38 turns to build the BHPG.
Total minimum turns: 30.

Having to create the BH from a red star:
Minimum turns to get the techs: 41 turns.
Total RP expenditure: 2744 RP.
Then 11 turns (10 plus the one turn delay) to get the artificial BH and 38 more to build the BHPG.
Total minimum turns: 60.

That's insanely unbalanced, way more than double the RPs and double the minimum turns.
Given that the BHPG is the most powerful PP boost in game, there should not be such a big difference depending just on luck at galaxy generation.


I suggest to add Temporal Mechanics to the requirements of Singularity Generation (the tech that unlocks the BHPG) and reduce artificial black hole build time to 6 turns, to get:

With readily available BH with planets:
Minimum turns to get the techs: 38 turns.
Total RP expenditure: 2044 RP.
Total minimum turns: 46.

Having to create the BH from a red star:
Minimum turns to get the techs: 41 turns.
Total RP expenditure: 2744 RP.
Total minimum turns: 56.


Any complaints?


Edit: fixed BHPG building time, it's 8, not 3. It doesn't change the argument.

User avatar
Voker57
Space Kraken
Posts: 128
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:46 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#2 Post by Voker57 » Mon May 11, 2020 11:53 am

LGTM
Team S.M.A.C.: destroying dreams of multiplayer 4x since 2017.

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 2697
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#3 Post by Oberlus » Mon May 11, 2020 12:06 pm

New PR#2940.

User avatar
swaq
Space Dragon
Posts: 333
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:56 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#4 Post by swaq » Mon May 11, 2020 1:29 pm

Would this change make Hyperspatial Dam harder to research as well?

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 2697
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#5 Post by Oberlus » Mon May 11, 2020 2:33 pm

swaq wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 1:29 pm
Would this change make Hyperspatial Dam harder to research as well?
Nope, unless we think it should.

Currently:
Minimum turns to get the techs: 22 turns.
Total RP expenditure: 734 RP.
Then 8 turns to build the HSD.
Total minimum turns: 30.
So you can get it much sooner than BHPG but it pays off poorly until you get enough growth techs, so it is as if it has an indirect prerequisite on growth techs. Depending on species and available environments, it is hard to reach half of the BHPG performance with the HSD, so I think it makes sense to keep it cheap RP-wise.

ThinkSome
Space Kraken
Posts: 170
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:13 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#6 Post by ThinkSome » Mon May 11, 2020 2:34 pm

What if solar gen / BHPG were made into an in-system bonus only? They could also consume a lot of infrastructure.

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 2697
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#7 Post by Oberlus » Mon May 11, 2020 2:37 pm

ThinkSome wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 2:34 pm
What if solar gen / BHPG were made into an in-system bonus only? They could also consume a lot of infrastructure.
They would become irrelevant (affecting a minimal fraction of your total empire's population, why bother researching them?) or a spamalot building.
What would such a change be fixing or improving anyways?

ThinkSome
Space Kraken
Posts: 170
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:13 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#8 Post by ThinkSome » Mon May 11, 2020 4:27 pm

Irrelevant? Is a GGG irrelevant? Why not make GGGs work empire-wide, then?

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 2697
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#9 Post by Oberlus » Mon May 11, 2020 4:48 pm

ThinkSome wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 4:27 pm
Irrelevant? Is a GGG irrelevant? Why not make GGGs work empire-wide, then?
Dig in the forum for that answer.

User avatar
Voker57
Space Kraken
Posts: 128
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:46 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#10 Post by Voker57 » Wed May 13, 2020 4:35 pm

How about making all these buildings system-only, but buff them immensely and make them so expensive, that for example:

* SG is viable on blue stars with 2 large fully settled planets+ or white with 3+
* GG for 3 large ones
* BHPG well should probably always profitable
Team S.M.A.C.: destroying dreams of multiplayer 4x since 2017.

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 2697
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#11 Post by Oberlus » Wed May 13, 2020 5:41 pm

Voker57 wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 4:35 pm
How about making all these buildings system-only, but buff them immensely and make them so expensive, that for example:

* SG is viable on blue stars with 2 large fully settled planets+ or white with 3+
* GG for 3 large ones
* BHPG well should probably always profitable
I don't find pleasure having to build the same building tens of times per game. I could play MoO2 for that.
Also, it would make ThinkSome play his turns even slower, tons of clicks everywhere.

The "so expensive" doesn't escalate well with galaxy size.

User avatar
LienRag
Space Kraken
Posts: 182
Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 5:03 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#12 Post by LienRag » Fri May 15, 2020 1:54 am

Oberlus wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 11:12 am
There is a huge difference, in terms of RP and turns needed to get a Black Hole Power Generator (BHPG), between having a black hole with planets nearby and having to create one from a red star.
(...)

That's insanely unbalanced, way more than double the RPs and double the minimum turns.
Given that the BHPG is the most powerful PP boost in game, there should not be such a big difference depending just on luck at galaxy generation.
You are definitely right that there is a problem and are commendable to try to address it, but I think that you misidentify the real problem and thus propose a wrong answer, which would be really detrimental to the game.

FreeOrion has a real problem with randomness, leaving a lot of game-changing situations to sheer luck, especially as starting positions are concerned. That is the main problem, and indeed the availability of a Black Hole not too far (nor irremediably blockaded) from a player's Homeworld is part of it, since BHPG is indeed an extremely powerful building.

So basically a player can find himself, through no choice of his (which is the actual problem) in one of three positions :

1 - He's got an outpostable Black Hole near his Homeworld, making everything fine and dandy.

2 - He hasn't any outpostable Black Hole nearby, but there's one available not too far from the outward limits of where he can stretch his empires, so he'll have to organize most of his development strategy to get to it before anybody else can, and be sure to be militarily able to defend it too.
This is exactly the situation we should aim for as it is the one who will require the most strategical thinking and the best skills, especially if there is an opponent nearby who will try to take it for himself/deny the player access to it.
Note that since proximity from homeworld goes in circle, the "outwards limits of where one can stretch its empire" is much bigger than the immediate vicinity of one's homeworld, so this second situation is the most probable.
Obviously, this covers a lot of different situations, from "having to build a chain of outposts to be able to reach the Black Hole in time" to "being stuck in a war to the knife about control of the Black Hole with a neighbor since sheer survival will depend on getting it".
That's not a problem, it just makes for different game experiences.
Losing (or at least being dealt a great blow) early does not necessarily make for a less interesting game, if it is the result of one's actions and decisions.

3 - There are no outpostable Black Holes anywhere in the vicinity, either because there are none, the only one is stranded behind a Sentinel, or the only one is very near the Homeworld of a military specie (if YOU are playing Mu Ursh or Eaxaw and the Black Hole is near a Sly or Gysache opponent then it's not an excuse, just furbish your attack ships and go conquer it).
That is indeed a problem, and you are right to want to tackle it. There is no fun of having one Empire's potential crippled through no fault of oneself.

The problem with your solution is that it removes not only the very bad and very in need of being removed third situation, but also the (quite frequent) very interesting second situation : if it's too difficult (but not impossible) to get hold of a Black Hole, just make an artificial one, problem solved.
That removes one of the biggest element polarizing the Galaxy, leaving it quite "flat" again.
I am adamantly against this type of solutions which greatly aggravates the game experience, making for quite insipid and very less distinctive games !
A game where one cannot find an easy Black Hole should definitely not be similar to a game where one was able to secure one !

So, as the randomness is indeed a problem, the solution would reside in a very different building, on a different research path, not compatible with the BHPG in the same Supply group, and providing balanced¹ but very different bonus to the player - I'm thinking either Population or Influence. We can call it "Gravitic Harmonic Weaver" to explain why a BHPG would nullify its effects...

So a player unable to secure an outpostable Black Hole would not be condemned to irrelevance, but would have to completely rethink his strategy and reorient his Empire - that's what would make for very different game experiences, and as such the way to go.

¹ Yes, that's the hard part.

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 2697
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#13 Post by Oberlus » Fri May 15, 2020 10:57 am

TL;DR.

Randomness in universe generations is well known and is being addressed, or we are trying.
The suggestion in this thread is not wrong at all, and fits in very well with and without reducing randomness.
There is already an alternative to an outpostable black hole: creating an artificial black hole on a red star.

User avatar
LienRag
Space Kraken
Posts: 182
Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 5:03 pm

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#14 Post by LienRag » Fri May 15, 2020 2:50 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 10:57 am
There is already an alternative to an outpostable black hole: creating an artificial black hole on a red star.
Indeed, and I always considered it to be detrimental to the game, but I understand how it needed to be there in order not to cripple Empires without access to an outpostable black hole. At least having it be much more costly was a strong incitement to fight tooth and nail if need be to get a natural one.

I'm a bit surprised by your TL;DR (even if I sometimes feel that way, notably about Influence and or Policies discussions that lay for pages and pages and reference things I haven't read either, so that's why I keep them for later) but here's a summary : A game where one cannot find an easy Black Hole should definitely not be similar to a game where one was able to secure one, that goes against FreeOrion's core design principles as I can understand them.

Ophiuchus
Programmer
Posts: 1521
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:01 am
Location: Wall IV

Re: Rebalance Black Hole Power Generator

#15 Post by Ophiuchus » Fri May 15, 2020 3:16 pm

I think BH is a good strategical resource worth planning long-term for. Access to a black hole is thing worth fighting over.
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.

Post Reply