Race Techs

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

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Impaler
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#31 Post by Impaler » Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:53 am

Some thoughts on Utilae's proposal:

I like the Moo1 concept of per player randomization of what what Techs are even researchable, SotS which many of you have tried used this to a minor extent but Moo1's tree-less level based implementation was far superior in m opinion. But I digress, the point is that in addition to bonuses to the research RATE in particular catagories Moo1 also modified the random selections. A race would have fewer choices in catagories they were poor in and more in ones they were good at. This would give the player not only more choices and flexibility it also made all their stuff better in that catagory because of the level based feedback system. Players who had fewer choices were discouraged from persuing the few that they did have because the huge gaps ment research times were terribly long and you would be neglecting more profitable research elseware.

Given our Theory/Application split we have a means of combining a Tree Structure with the Moo1 system. All theories are researchable by all players (with varrying degrees of difficulty) but Aplications and refinments would be randomly limited based on racial Tech prowes. The robotitoids have a greater percentage of the Constuction and Enginering trees avalible to them but less of the Growth tree. Its also simpler for the player as both would be rolled into a single value "+2 Enginering Research and -3 Growth Research" etc etc.
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#32 Post by marhawkman » Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:53 pm

eleazar wrote:
marhawkman wrote:this is a large part of why I did that weird proposal about removing preset weapon techs entirely. Stagnation occurs because you have "the best" peices of technology. If you write the game so that doing weapons research results in the creation of a weapons technology rather than simply making one available for use, then stagnation will only occur if people quit doing research.
Can you elaborate or link? I'm not sure i understand what you're proposing.
viewtopic.php?t=1335&start=45

there you go. It's actually on the first page of this forum.(ship tech tree)
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eleazar
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#33 Post by eleazar » Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:57 am

Impaler wrote:...Given our Theory/Application split we have a means of combining a Tree Structure with the Moo1 system. All theories are researchable by all players (with varrying degrees of difficulty) but Aplications and refinments would be randomly limited based on racial Tech prowes. The robotitoids have a greater percentage of the Constuction and Enginering trees avalible to them but less of the Growth tree. Its also simpler for the player as both would be rolled into a single value "+2 Enginering Research and -3 Growth Research" etc etc.
This sounds like a great idea, at least as far a refinements. Depending on how much redundancy there is in the non-military applications, it could be crippling if the wrong applications were denied to a player.

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#34 Post by marhawkman » Sun Nov 05, 2006 4:48 am

yeah. If it's an "essential" tech then every body should have access. the question is whether or not something is essential. an example from MoO2 would be creative. It's such a powerful ability that having it almost guarantees a win. why? you get everything! you don't have to choose between researching refinements for marines and better weapons.
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#35 Post by Daveybaby » Sun Nov 05, 2006 12:47 pm

marhawkman wrote:an example from MoO2 would be creative. It's such a powerful ability that having it almost guarantees a win.
Actually, the general concensus among hardcore moo2 players is that creative is a waste of race picks. Its much more effective to choose your techs wisely and spend the 8 race picks on other stuff.
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#36 Post by leiavoia » Sun Nov 05, 2006 9:46 pm

Daveybaby wrote:
marhawkman wrote:an example from MoO2 would be creative. It's such a powerful ability that having it almost guarantees a win.
Actually, the general concensus among hardcore moo2 players is that creative is a waste of race picks. Its much more effective to choose your techs wisely and spend the 8 race picks on other stuff.
I was a hardcore MOO2 player once, and i wouldn't agree with that statement at all. There are certainly more interesting ways to spend your picks though. I started playing without creative to make the game more interesting on SP Impossible.

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#37 Post by eleazar » Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:06 pm

Before we go off on a rabbit trail— the value of "creative" in Moo2 isn't terribly relavant. The immediate question is weather randomly hiding applications in FO would have a strong effect on a player's chances of victory. I don't know if that question can definitively be answered at this stage of development.

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#38 Post by Geoff the Medio » Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:53 am

This discussion should probably consider Civ3 style resources as an alternative to limiting tech availablilities. Having a tech but lacking a resource required to use it is effectively the same as not having the tech in terms of what a player can produce / do, but doesn't have any issues of interfering with the present fixed-structure HOI-style tech tree.

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#39 Post by Daveybaby » Mon Nov 06, 2006 9:29 am

leiavoia wrote:I was a hardcore MOO2 player once ... I started playing without creative to make the game more interesting on SP Impossible.
I was really talking about MP, i.e. those people who still play on Kali. Y'know, really, scarily hardcore :P. From what i remember, if you picked creative in MP you tended to get whupped by people who had honed their tech progression down to perfection and who were out producing/farming/growing/researching you cos of their other picks.
eleazar wrote:The immediate question is weather randomly hiding applications in FO would have a strong effect on a player's chances of victory.
Obviously if a tech is one that's considered critical to success then it should be guaranteed to all players. But that still leaves a lot of scope for variation in a players tech tree from game to game. Moo1 did it successfully, and so, more to the point, has Sword of the Stars, which has managed to get it working in an MP game (although it is a much simpler game in terms of 4x-ness). Actually Moo2 also had this (albeit in a very extreme way) via the uncreative race pick.

Another factor to bear in mind is: how easy would it be to obtain techs which dont initially appear in your tech tree? i.e. by trading, stealing or capturing. Moo1 allowed this, but SotS doesnt (there is a very slim chance of capturing tech, but it hardly ever happens).

I think if done correctly it really adds variety to the game - it forces players to actually *think* about their tech choices, so they dont just plough the same old safe and boring furrow every. single. game. they. ever. play. Which goes back to the whole Moo2 creative thing again - i agree with lev - creative isnt a bad choice because its too easy, its a bad choice because its too boring. And even without creative, it can get boring because, as i stated above, people work out an optimumste of techs and then use that set, every single game. No thinking, just going through the motions. If you want an interesting game of moo2, choose uncreative, and try to make do with the hand you get dealt (and try to beg/buy/steal the rest).

Not having the same safe options every game makes things so much more interesting its unbelievable. Sometimes you have to force your players to be interesting in spite of themselves :wink: .
Geoff the Medio wrote:This discussion should probably consider Civ3 style resources as an alternative to limiting tech availablilities. Having a tech but lacking a resource required to use it is effectively the same as not having the tech in terms of what a player can produce / do, but doesn't have any issues of interfering with the present fixed-structure HOI-style tech tree.
Eesh. I dunno, this didnt work very well in civ3. Possibly that was because it affected really key techs, and so if you didnt have access to that resource, you could be completely stuck. I guess it could be possible to work out something better balanced.
Last edited by Daveybaby on Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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#40 Post by Daveybaby » Mon Nov 06, 2006 9:59 am

double post, but this moo2 creative/uncreative thing reminded me of something else relevent to this issue.

I've always hated the way the moo2 tech system worked w.r.t. creative/normal/uncreative. Normal let you see 3 techs but only have one of them. No going back and researching the others - why the hell not? Creative gave you all 3 techs for the price of one - too far in the other direction IMO.

What i always thought it should have been was:

Creative: can see all 3 techs. Researching only gets you one of them, but you can go back and get the others later if you like.
Normal: can see 2 out of the 3 techs. Again, you can go research them both, but seperately.
Uncreative: can only see one tech - same as current game

This, to me, made much more sense, and fitted into the whole creative/uncreative thing much more sensibly. Looking at the way the moo2 tech system is organised, i'm guessing that this is probably what simtek originally designed.

But, it wont work. What would almost certainly happen would be that uncreative races would shoot ahead in tech to the higher levels, while normal and creative races spend all of their time researching the extra lower level techs. I have my suspicions that this is exactly what simtek found during development, and bodged the tech system at the last minute into what we have now.

Okay, so thats all conjecture, but it does highlight the point that, if youre going to give some races more techs to research than others, youre going to have to compensate in some way (even if only in the AI) to stop races with more techs hanging around at the bottom of the tree for too long.
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#41 Post by marhawkman » Mon Nov 06, 2006 2:59 pm

That IS a good point. But one thing I found was that what is "essential" is largely defined by your play style. Since I liked to have few ships I found it necessary to have Heavy armor and reinforced hull on all my ships. Sure it makes them slow but it also gives them the toughness they need to capture Antaran ships. But someone else might not care. Their play style might focus one annihilating enemies with those negine seeking missiles. Thus they wouldn't need it or want it. If you randomly determine what people get they will have to formulate a new plan each game, sometimes without knowing what the final product of their choices will be.
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#42 Post by Daveybaby » Mon Nov 06, 2006 4:38 pm

marhawkman wrote:That IS a good point. But one thing I found was that what is "essential" is largely defined by your play style. Since I liked to have few ships I found it necessary to have Heavy armor and reinforced hull on all my ships.
Thats not "essential" - that's 'preferred'.

Essential would be something that, if you didnt have it, put you at a significant disadvantage regardless of play style. For example, if you dont get any decent weapons in your tech tree in the mid-game then you wont be able to compete regardless of what size ships you have, or what your play style is - youre just going to get creamed. So the game would have to ensure you got at least a fair distribution of different weapons throughout its duration. The thing is that they wouldnt necessarily be the same weapons each time.

But anyway, your post nicely illustrates my whole point about why a varying tech tree is important. You have a preferred way of playing - you always do the same thing: because you can always have heavy armour you always build big ships. That's got to be boring after a while (and i mean boring for you, not for us). Surely its better if the game challenges you to do something different once in a while by not giving you heavy armour? - if the game forces you to play outside your comfort zone?

Maybe i'm just weird but thats what i call 'fun gameplay'.
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#43 Post by utilae » Mon Nov 06, 2006 6:35 pm

Daveybaby wrote: But, it wont work. What would almost certainly happen would be that uncreative races would shoot ahead in tech to the higher levels, while normal and creative races spend all of their time researching the extra lower level techs. I have my suspicions that this is exactly what simtek found during development, and bodged the tech system at the last minute into what we have now.
I think that creative/normal players would not be at such a disadvantage as you think. Sure, they may be tempted to hang around the bottom of the tech tree, but they can also move on, research up the tech tree leaving those techs for much later perhaps. It is a strategic choice, have everything or have the most advanced.

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#44 Post by Daveybaby » Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:48 am

You still have to code the AI so that it can make the correct choices. Not so easy to do when youve just coded the game - how do you know which techs are the really useful ones to have? The optimum choices usually dont become apparent until people have been playing it to death - i.e. quite a while after youve released it.

Hopefully one of the really good things about FO is going to be that, because its open source, people are going to be able to keep developing the AI to add the new strategies that human players come up with over time.
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#45 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:30 pm

Daveybaby wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:This discussion should probably consider Civ3 style resources as an alternative to limiting tech availablilities. Having a tech but lacking a resource required to use it is effectively the same as not having the tech in terms of what a player can produce / do, but doesn't have any issues of interfering with the present fixed-structure HOI-style tech tree.
Eesh. I dunno, this didnt work very well in civ3. Possibly that was because it affected really key techs, and so if you didnt have access to that resource, you could be completely stuck. I guess it could be possible to work out something better balanced.
It would be set up just as redundantly as most people assume an equilvalent system that prevented empires from getting certain techs. There would be other things you could research and build, such as different types of weapons, or the next tier up of whatever you can't get, or perhaps refined versions that don't require the resource or that require different resources, etc. I don't see many possible criticisms to a resource-based restriction system that wouldn't apply to a tech-access-based one, other than issues of how to dole out the resources

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