Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

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
Lupin III.
Space Krill
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 5:09 pm

Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#1 Post by Lupin III. » Sat May 31, 2008 8:47 pm

I've read that there will be technologies of different kinds grouped in Theories, Applications, and Refinements. It would be nice if these groups would be treated differently in Research.

Theories could have some uncertainty in research points needed before you get them (you can't really tell when you are 50% with a theory in reality).

Applications should be the "normal" research. You know quite well how many RPs you need, can tell the progress and have a certain point where you are done.

Finally there are the refinements. They could be the same thing as the applications itself, but you can keep researching them without end and no distinct levelups. For example you already have the application "Plasma Cannon", but you keep researching it and put RP into it. The more you research the better the stats (size goes down, damage up or whatever other stats there are). Of course the further advanced a refinement is the more RPs you need to get the same benefit (to reach 5% size decrease you need 10000RP, for 10% you need additional 20000RP). To make it clear, you wouldn't have a "5% smaller" technology to select, it's a continuous research.

These refinements should stack. So let's say "Plasma Weapons" is a prerequisite to "Plasma Cannon", refining "Plasma Weapons" would also increase the stats of the "Plasma Cannon". Some other refinements like "Miniaturization" would influence all parts or even planet improvements (Mini.) or "Compressed Plasma" (just making things up here ;-) ) would improve everything that has to do with plasma (Plasma Weapons, - Shields, - Reactors, aso.)

User avatar
eleazar
Design & Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 3858
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: USA — midwest

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#2 Post by eleazar » Sun Jun 01, 2008 4:30 am

Welcome Lupin :)

This is a large and complex project. Feel free to take advantage of the links in my sig, to help orient yourself.

There's a somewhat similar discussion over here.

As i recall, MoO1 had a certain amount of uncertainty about when you would finish a research project. I didn't notice any increased enjoyment from method, but it was harder to figure out what was going on with research.

That's the critical concern with this project: is it fun? is it strategically interesting? We aren't trying to make an accurate space-conquest simulation, but a deep and fun game with a space-opera theme.

M4lV
Space Squid
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 10:51 am

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#3 Post by M4lV » Sun Jun 01, 2008 5:11 am

That's sure a good idea, but I would like to prefer those things to be able to do once all major theory techs have been developed. It does not make much sense to put RP into an open-end refinement or application project when the next theory level gives you totally new applications ten times more worth to research than the old ones.

It's kinda like putting RP into piston engines refinements while jet engines available not much later make a lot more sense. So following this I would start open-end development when the last known and described theory is developed and the rest is "future tech" just like in Civ1 or BotF. That future tech gives a certain percentage on all kinds of weapons/applications depending on your investments and milestones in future tech you achieve.

User avatar
marhawkman
Large Juggernaut
Posts: 938
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: GA

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#4 Post by marhawkman » Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:30 pm

Ah yes... the enigmatic "future tech". that system only really works for games with discreet tech fields. Here things are loosely grouped into vague categories.
Computer programming is fun.

User avatar
Tsenzouken
Space Squid
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 10:15 am

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#5 Post by Tsenzouken » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:08 am

Then there is the annoying issue with future tech not actually *doing* anything. (Civ/freeciv/moo1&3, moo2 after the first 5 or so)

User avatar
Tortanick
Creative Contributor
Posts: 576
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 8:05 pm

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#6 Post by Tortanick » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:30 am

marhawkman wrote:Ah yes... the enigmatic "future tech". that system only really works for games with discreet tech fields. Here things are loosely grouped into vague categories.
You could have 1/2 future tech per catagory that gives a small bonus. Economics could give have two future techs: one for manipulation and one for profit bonuses

User avatar
Robbie.Price
Space Kraken
Posts: 161
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:00 pm

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#7 Post by Robbie.Price » Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:55 am

Goodmorning all,

I posted here most of my reply to this,

But i would like to agree the "advanced tech" solution is awkward at best. I think a more interesting system would strive to make each weapon endgame useful, if appropriately invested in.

The easiest way to achieve this is to have each weapon be unique, If 'Lasers' do damage and have no other defining properties, then no other weapon after that should also have no further defining properties, and as a consequence lasers would do more 'damage/(cost, space)' then most of the later weapons(some weapons might trade fire rate for higher damage, or accuracy for damage, or space for damage. . . but all others would have in general lower overall damaging ability.), given an adequate number of refinements to keep them RP investment competitive. The goal is not to make future weapon be better in all regards then each of the previous (see GC for a near example) but to have each future weapon provide a new opportunity and new tactical option.

If you plow thought the research and get the min of each tech, then you have a wide array of very weak weapon which you can select to match your opponents weaknesses, if you plow it all into one, you'll have a very powerful laser that would scare any opponent who doesn't have a tech which gives them +defense against laser technology.

This is closer to what MOO2 had, although still even then I never use lasers on my last ships.

Anyway that's enough from me,

Fair well

Price

M4lV
Space Squid
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 10:51 am

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#8 Post by M4lV » Sat Jun 07, 2008 12:42 pm

That's the system a lot of newer 4X games have. Actually it scares me off a lot. I don't want ship hulls that are good only against this or that weapon and suck against the other. I want damage to be a single value not a stack array with as many rows as there are weapon types and such my shields and hulls arrays of same length. Newer weapons should always make more damage but come with a price attached like more needed slots, energy and building costs. They can have synergy effects when coherent tech is used throughout ship design such as more slots available, less building costs, but never should it affect damage other than being able to mount more weapons, hull parts or shields which then have more damage or damage reducing effect. But the damage value itself stays scalar.

What's the point in doing it otherwise (as in rock, paper, scissors) with regards to gameplay?

User avatar
Robbie.Price
Space Kraken
Posts: 161
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:00 pm

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#9 Post by Robbie.Price » Sat Jun 07, 2008 1:35 pm

M4lV wrote:That's the system a lot of newer 4X games have. Actually it scares me off a lot. I don't want ship hulls that are good only against this or that weapon and suck against the other. I want damage to be a single value not a stack array with as many rows as there are weapon types and such my shields and hulls arrays of same length.
My apologies for not being sufficiently clear, I was not suggesting a massive Rock Paper Scissors game, with a Gigantic matrix of weaknesses and strengths (although i can understand how you drew that conclusion from what i had written).

I was considering more the MOO2 style,
Damage + enveloping
Damage + troop kill
Damage + double shield damage
Extra Damage but two times range for two hit and dissipation calculations
. . .
etc.

Where each weapon would have one or more qualities, other then just value of damage, Lasers would be the baseline for damage, and any other weapons would cause less or more direct damage depending on what bonuses/penalties they were additionally assigned.

Does that make more sense??
M4lV wrote: Newer weapons should always make more damage but come with a price attached like more needed slots, energy and building costs. They can have synergy effects when coherent tech is used throughout ship design such as more slots available, less building costs, but never should it affect damage other than being able to mount more weapons, hull parts or shields which then have more damage or damage reducing effect. But the damage value itself stays scalar.
Under this system why would you have any reason to use any weapon other then the most state of the art in any given branch? Given each with an equal number of refinements + prerequisites(or similar system)?

In my eyes, if any one weapon is in all manners better then any other weapon the second weapon should be a refinement, not a separate technology. A weapon which is in all ways better replaces it's prerequisite, rather then providing an interesting alternative to the prerequisite.
M4lV wrote: What's the point in doing it otherwise (as in rock, paper, scissors) with regards to gameplay?
Note; GC uses the R-P-S method, where each upgraded laser weapon is almost universally better then all it's predecessors. I would not want to see anything as linear, and dull IMHO, as this for FO.

although i Have proposed a RPS method for ship sizes, it is an unrelated problem, and again is motivated by the same desire; to have late game interest in all available ship types and all available weapons types.


Hopefully this makes my proposal more clear, I fully agree that a gigantic matrix of strengths and weaknesses would be overly complicated and IMO un-fun for FO's purposes.

Best wishes,

Robbie Price

M4lV
Space Squid
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 10:51 am

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#10 Post by M4lV » Sat Jun 07, 2008 1:59 pm

It still makes sense btw. to build older weapons in my proposal because on some systems with less production capacities, those ships do not take that long to build and need less resources but of course do less damage. But better something than nothing.

The thing with extra-damage and sub-system/troop damage is a good thing. It's like the ion cannon in star wars that can disable a ship but is a bit less effective against shields than lasers.

Yet, I still wouldn't strictly say that lasers are the top-damage weapon in all refinement categories. I'd still let other weapons be even better than laser (this is a bonus for having developed theory techs that far). No need for such restrictions. Think of it that way, later theories and techs have earlier theories and techs contained in it hence more structure. Thus refinements of such theories should have higher improvements steps. In the end there is a point for each higher theoretical weapon to surpass highest possible laser refinement though the RP investment needed to get to that point are of course not that low. That's the price to pay. Highest-level weapon types should gain better damage values compared to cheap laser tech relatively quick (only 1 or 2 refinements needed).

That way one can strategically decide to go on early warfare with highly refined laser batteries onboard fast destroyer ships blasting away the damage-wise rather weak but higher-range or higher-specialized armory of their ships. But in the end, lasers resp. lower-theory weapon types should become ultimately inefficient vs. newer types of weapons, otherwise most players will only refine lasers and simply ignore the rest of the tech tree when it comes to weapon type development and refinement.

All in all, I think at some point all early tech stuff, ships and buildings should become obsolete and completely replaced by newer types, if only in order to have a cleaner array of weapons to choose from and not a clustered large stockpile of things where all overview is quickly lost.

User avatar
Robbie.Price
Space Kraken
Posts: 161
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:00 pm

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#11 Post by Robbie.Price » Sat Jun 07, 2008 5:16 pm

Goodmorning all,
M4lV wrote:It still makes sense btw. to build older weapons in my proposal because on some systems with less production capacities, those ships do not take that long to build and need less resources but of course do less damage. But better something than nothing.
You are right of course; there is always another way, I probably would benefit from being less dismissive with ideas i do not agree with.
M4lV wrote: Yet, I still wouldn't strictly say that lasers are the top-damage weapon in all refinement categories. I'd still let other weapons be even better than laser (this is a bonus for having developed theory techs that far). No need for such restrictions. Think of it that way, later theories and techs have earlier theories and techs contained in it hence more structure. Thus refinements of such theories should have higher improvements steps. In the end there is a point for each higher theoretical weapon to surpass highest possible laser refinement though the RP investment needed to get to that point are of course not that low. That's the price to pay. Highest-level weapon types should gain better damage values compared to cheap laser tech relatively quick (only 1 or 2 refinements needed).
I would have it be such that all tech are, approximately, equal given the same investment in RP. Which is to say, If all techs cost the same(which they don't of course), and plasma cannons followed directly from Lasers. Then i would have

Lasers mrk2 be functionally equivalent to Plasma Cannons mrk1. Plasma cannons mrk2 would of course be stronger then lasers mk2, but semi-equivalent to lasers3 in terms of price and space (assuming plasma cannons had some other property other then higher damage/price or higher damage to space bonus).
M4lV wrote: That way one can strategically decide to go on early warfare with highly refined laser batteries onboard fast destroyer ships blasting away the damage-wise rather weak but higher-range or higher-specialized armory of their ships. But in the end, lasers resp. lower-theory weapon types should become ultimately inefficient vs. newer types of weapons, otherwise most players will only refine lasers and simply ignore the rest of the tech tree when it comes to weapon type development and refinement.
The point of a refinement, in my eyes, is to keep a technology competitive. Lasers reach the mrk2 level of refinement when they are by definition strong enough to be comparable to mrk1 plasma cannons. (otherwise they would be mrk1.5 lasers rather then mrk2s :- D ).

Of course at some point it needs to be balanced such that both tech tree decisions are tempting. But i consider that a balancing issue, not a vision and playability issue.
M4lV wrote: All in all, I think at some point all early tech stuff, ships and buildings should become obsolete and completely replaced by newer types, if only in order to have a cleaner array of weapons to choose from and not a clustered large stockpile of things where all overview is quickly lost.
I suppose the greatest distinction between our visions, is that i see a weapon as a function, rather then a name or a tech level. In my eyes if two weapons have the same function, they are in fact the the same weapon and i see no particular reason for having two names. I wouldn't be against having some of the higher level weapons be prerequisites for lower level weapon refinements. For example having lasers mrk4 being locked from beginning until plasma cannons tech has been completed, The argument being that some of the theoretical work behind Plasma cannons provides the insight by which a new class of 'lasers' can be built. So in fact the highest level of lasers may be closer to a plasma cannon, or even more exotic weapon type, but it still fills the 'function' of 'Basic space weapon of normal range, normal dissipation, . . . normal everything' most other weapons would have one or two properties higher, and one or two properties lower then 'normal', for a given amount of RP invested. . . many of them would have slightly lower damage, only because that's an easy default trade(accuracy for fire rate is another common trade, where damage remains 'normal' ).

In MOO2, there where a number of 'beam' weapons classes, when you selected beam weapons the list was neither too long nor too short. . . a similar list for FO would not be overbearing, i should think.

I suppose the distinction boils down to function vrs form. I see a weapons array as the differnt functionalities each weapon is able to present on the battle field, by keeping the relation between the weapons identical it's easier, for me at least, to compare two differnt weapons of equal RP investment.

best wishes

Robbie Price

M4lV
Space Squid
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 10:51 am

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#12 Post by M4lV » Sat Jun 07, 2008 5:48 pm

for me, refinements are completely unrelated to upper-class techs bar for some theory tech prerequisite for further refinement like you mentioned but never a strict weapon type 1 mk3 equals weapon type 3 mk1 or something like that. They are just refinements giving either better damage values or less production costs or vice versa. Maybe there are different branches so let's say I can overall 12 times refine a weapon, so I can refine it 8 times in damage output (each refinement level has different modifiers) and 4 times in cost reduction whereby it depends on sequence of refinement development which weapon comes out at the end of last refinement.

Neither should we look at equal RP investments. A weapon that disrupts hulls only and neglects shields can sure cost more IP because it is perfect for a race with strong hulls themselves for carrying out ram maneuvres where only each other's hull strength matters and no shields. So there's a synergy effect there depending on strategy and race-specific characteristics. This is connected to balancing of course so I'd say there's a lot of detail work to do, but I would leave out strict relations between each weapon type and their refinements. They need to match with race specific tech preferrences. Imagine each race could have a special field (theory, app and ref development all at once) where it succeeds faster than others, let's say with pulse disruptor cannons. They get bonusses on developping all techs directly related to that weapon type in fact rendering this weapon type the Nr. 1 weapon type of that race. Not necessarily the only type of weapon aboard their ships but the most common and the best developed. Kinda makes sense that each race has a favorite weapon type. In Star Trek, this is the same. Klingons have their disruptor, the Dominion their shield-neglecting polaron beams, Federation its phasers, all having certain damage effects but essentially the same form of the same thing with some additional effects like +X% damage on hull or -X% damage on shields.

User avatar
marhawkman
Large Juggernaut
Posts: 938
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: GA

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#13 Post by marhawkman » Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:23 am

I like Robbie's idea.

MoO2 had a really nice variety of weapons. But at later tech levels most were totally useless as they just didn't do enough damage to put a dent in advanced shielding. It would be nice to be able to use more powerful versions later. Especially stuff like the Gravity guns. I liked those. :)
Computer programming is fun.

User avatar
Yeeha
Pupating Mass
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:06 pm

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#14 Post by Yeeha » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:29 am

Yes it would be interesting strategical choice if you go for advanced weapons or refine your current ones that later aint so good as advanced ones when refined, also upgrading ships with refined tech should be way cheaper and faster than putting new weapons onboard. This would make refining weapon tech in times of war very good since your empire isnt geared for research so researching advanced weapons would take too long and you dont have time and resources to upg ships with new weapons. Maybe refinements should even autoupg to existing ships orbiting your worlds as repair crew installs upgrades themselves?

User avatar
Robbie.Price
Space Kraken
Posts: 161
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:00 pm

Re: Different handling of Theories, Applications, and Refinement

#15 Post by Robbie.Price » Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:01 pm

Goodmorning all,

Just a quick comment regarding invested RP, then a quicker one about sub-branching refinements

Invested RP should be almost the basis for 'raw power + attributes' of weapons.

Consider if refinements, and what they give you, are not balanced against the RP invested then one, or a very small number, of weapons are going to be 'inherently better' for all races since they simply pack more punch/(dollar*RP). There are two ways to prevent this;

Either de-couple refinements from specific weapons, so 'All weapons cost x% less' 'All weapons take Y% less energy'. . .
But then the refinement techs really are not so much refinement techs but behave more like Application techs, which personally I would want to avoid.

Or, directly or indirectly tie higher level refinements on lower level techs to the completion of higher level techs, such that the 'RP required' balance works out correctly.

The worst thing that could happen would be to have all races and all players make the same research choices, If everybody's doing the same thing, there is no reason to ask if they want to do it; there is no strategy. RE a race which uses collisions as primary attack; This race would obviously prefer weapons which skipped or partially ignored shields, your right, and that isn't a problem. Races are meant to be differnt, played differently, that races strategy works for them and so they would try as best as allowed to focus on it. The trick then is just to balance the value of the racial pick which enables the strategy (not too hard).


Re: Multi-branched Refinements. I'd love to see each tech have two or three refinement branches, one to reduce the cost, another to reduce the size and so forth. . . that being said, i think it might be too complex for FO. I wouldn't stop anybody who wants to put in the effort to write up all the literally hundreds of lines of content, and then spend the possibly weeks(easily much much more) balancing them . . . but i think sticking to 'mrk 1, mrk 2, mrk 3. ..' although somewhat more dull, will be much more obtainable.

Best wishes all

Robbie Price

Post Reply