Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

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eleazar
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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#31 Post by eleazar » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:00 pm

Keep in mind tech tree changes should move in the direction of simplification. I see that proposal moving a bit the other way.

IIRC the engine that lays out the tech tree is rather complicated and hard to adjust. There's no way to tell it to put certain techs in a straight line, so practically speaking that layout won't be any clearer or simpler.

You've redefined "Refinements" so they are no different from "Applications", which moves towards more complexity since, currently refinements aren't supposed to cross-link.

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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#32 Post by rnl » Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:12 pm

Krikkitone wrote:
OllyG wrote: In conclusion.
The main structure (the theories) of the tech tree should be simple (and linear).
Applications should sometimes be crosslinked.
Refinements should not just be repeated applications with better numbers and they should be harder to get by research or stealing.
Reseaching everything shouldn't be possible.
Using everything should be even less possible!
I like that general setup..
"Pillars" of theories with Applications branching off of them.

I'd like to see researching everything Possible, but Ridiculously impractical.

So something like... Theory: Learning Level 3... has 3 applications, The first costs 100 RP, the second will cost 300 RP, the third will cost 1000 RP. (or the first requires Learning Level 3, the second Learning Level 5, the third Learning Level 8. )
Have you guys played Space Empire 4 or 5, they have a similar research setup that I believe you guys are looking for. It does do a research restriction setup based on race picks, but you could remove that. I would suggest maybe increasing the cost of one tech as you go down another tech's path that would normally keep you from researching the first one. Ex:
Starting :: Tech A level 1 cost: 100 and Tech B level 1 cost: 100
Middle way Point :: Tech A level 10 cost: 10,000 and Tech B level 1 cost: 1,000,000

I also would like to see a random research value for tech as well, I did this in my MOD of SEV. Ex: Tech A Level One needs 1,000 - 2,000 pts

So let the pounding begin. :)

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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#33 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:12 pm

eleazar wrote:Keep in mind tech tree changes should move in the direction of simplification. I see that proposal moving a bit the other way.

IIRC the engine that lays out the tech tree is rather complicated and hard to adjust. There's no way to tell it to put certain techs in a straight line, so practically speaking that layout won't be any clearer or simpler.

You've redefined "Refinements" so they are no different from "Applications", which moves towards more complexity since, currently refinements aren't supposed to cross-link.

The key complication would be the cross-linking. I'm not quite sure about that for Applications (and definitely not for refinements... I think Refinements Should just be more research that you can put into the same Application.. ie the Only requirement for Refined Laser Cannons is Laser Cannons.

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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#34 Post by OllyG » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:23 am

Krikkitone wrote:The key complication would be the cross-linking. I'm not quite sure about that for Applications (and definitely not for refinements... I think Refinements Should just be more research that you can put into the same Application.. ie the Only requirement for Refined Laser Cannons is Laser Cannons.
My problem with refinements is that you get them right after the Application - or at least I do when I play. I would like a Refinement to be something I get after I have used the original Application to death and am getting a bit bored of it ...

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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#35 Post by eleazar » Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:04 am

OllyG wrote:I would like a Refinement to be something I get after I have used the original Application to death and am getting a bit bored of it ...
When you've used a tech so much you are bored of it -- that's the place the tech tree should have a new application to research.

Dictionary > "Refinement: the improvement or clarification of something by the making of small changes"

The concept of Refinements isn't an exciting, different tech, but an optional line of tech that does the same thing a little bit better. A laser tech refinement, for example, might do 15% more damage.

You have a totally different idea, which is fine, but you are making it confusing by using established terminology to mean something totally different.

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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#36 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:46 pm

everyone wrote:Refinement.
Why should the player be presented with the choice between doing something boring, and doing something interesting? Let's get rid of refinements (as the term is presently used) altogether.
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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#37 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:59 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:Why should the player be presented with the choice between doing something boring, and doing something interesting? Let's get rid of refinements (as the term is presently used) altogether.
Refinements don't need to be boring if they're actually strategically significant. Perhaps +15% damage isn't very interesting, but +50% range, or "doesn't require ammo", might be.

Also, if there are no weapon refinement techs, then there will be a strong desire to have a larger number of relatively unmemorable and indistinct weapons, in order to give players enough weapons stuff to research and upgrades to employ. However, if there are refinements like the above examples available, then there can be relatively few techs that unlock a whole new weapon, and each of those weapons can be dramatically different from the others, and can become available at much more different times or by much more different paths through the content.

Having "refinements" also has the advantage that they are easier to explain as an improvement on an existing design, making all ships using the base part better, whereas a whole new weapon part would make managing different ship designs more complicated and difficult.

Granted, some of the above can be dependent on specific definitions of things, but a refinement vs. new application distinction makes sense for them.

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eleazar
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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#38 Post by eleazar » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:45 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:
everyone wrote:Refinement.
Why should the player be presented with the choice between doing something boring, and doing something interesting? Let's get rid of refinements (as the term is presently used) altogether.
I wouldn't be heart-broken if refinements are gone, but boring vs interesting misses the point.

I see them as a choice between quickly getting a moderately useful upgrade (refinements), vs. longer delayed gratification of a significantly better tech.

Also: what Geoff said.

If i was more serious with my weapons replacement tree i should have instead of 10 weapon applications, made 4 or 5 applications, with 2 or 3 refinements each.

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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#39 Post by tzlaine » Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:49 pm

The refinement concept was decided on a long time ago, as someone mentioned earlier, even before Geoff became involved in FO. The basis for the theory-application-refinement design decision was that it provides interesting choices. Specifically, it is supposed to make you choose between sinking a lot of resources into a new area of research (theories, and to a lesser extent, applications), or sinking those same resources into making what you have a lot better (refinements). If you refine the hell out of a tech, it is supposed to get really useful, but if you focus too much on that one tech, you are more vulnerable to the RPS mechanics. Spreading out your research and researching everything becomes not only more difficult, but ultimately self-defeating, since it means that you didn't spend those resources on refining any one tech to make it devastatingly useful.

It was the conception of the FO tech system all along that it should be numerically impossible to research all techs, including refinements. We had a huge tech tree for just this reason. Recently, it has been trimmed down, I think understandably. We have limited resources, and that by itself justifies a more limited tech tree. It would make me happy to see it grow into another monster again over time, as development continues. I'm not making any demands in this regard by any means though.

It was my personal conception of refinements that it would be great to have each one confer a small, but cummulatively significant, improvement, and that there would either be no upper limit on that improvement, or that there would be slowly diminishing returns or a far-off cap. I don't remember now how widely-agreed-upon that particular point was.

What was universally-agreed-upon was that we wanted to have a system that would allow one to refine one type of early weapon for so long that it remains useful into the mid- or even late-game. Again, it would be subject to limitations via the RPS mechanic (e.g. having the best lasers possible does you no good if your enemy uses shoot-and-scoot missile tactics, and you don't also have the speed to catch him).

I'm chiming in here, where I usually don't, because I feel this thread lacks the game-theoretic underpinnings for designing the new tech tree. First principles need to be established before the specifics can be hashed out. I just wanted eveyone to know what the first principles were that were originally used to establish the tech desgin.

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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#40 Post by eleazar » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:36 pm

tzlaine wrote:...The basis for the theory-application-refinement design decision was that it provides interesting choices. Specifically, it is supposed to make you choose between sinking a lot of resources into a new area of research (theories, and to a lesser extent, applications), or sinking those same resources into making what you have a lot better (refinements).
That makes sense, but the tree as it existed a month ago, didn't really reflect that.
Nearly every application had a theory you had to research first, so theories weren't gateways to new branches of research, but merely speed-bumps in front of (nearly) every application.

Also until recently the code only allowed theories to be prerequisites. So if that was part of the original plan, aside from refinements, those "new areas of research" would have to be pretty shallow (i.e. of only one layer of applications before you had to research another theory).

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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#41 Post by tzlaine » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:33 pm

eleazar wrote:
tzlaine wrote:...The basis for the theory-application-refinement design decision was that it provides interesting choices. Specifically, it is supposed to make you choose between sinking a lot of resources into a new area of research (theories, and to a lesser extent, applications), or sinking those same resources into making what you have a lot better (refinements).
That makes sense, but the tree as it existed a month ago, didn't really reflect that.
Nearly every application had a theory you had to research first, so theories weren't gateways to new branches of research, but merely speed-bumps in front of (nearly) every application.

Also until recently the code only allowed theories to be prerequisites. So if that was part of the original plan, aside from refinements, those "new areas of research" would have to be pretty shallow (i.e. of only one layer of applications before you had to research another theory).
Right, and I think that issues like this have derailed this thread a bit. I'm saying you need to describe how the tech tree should work, and more importantly, why it should work that way, and only then decide how to implement it.

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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#42 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:48 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:Refinements don't need to be boring if they're actually strategically significant. Perhaps +15% damage isn't very interesting, but +50% range, or "doesn't require ammo", might be.
Eh, you're right. Refinements are good for stuff like weapons, as you describe them. Techs for which the only reasonable type of refinement would be +x% to whatever bonus the tech gives should not get refinements (in particular, most resource enhancing techs should not get refinements, because those refinements would have to be boring).
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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#43 Post by eleazar » Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:53 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:Refinements don't need to be boring if they're actually strategically significant. Perhaps +15% damage isn't very interesting, but +50% range, or "doesn't require ammo", might be.
Eh, you're right. Refinements are good for stuff like weapons, as you describe them. Techs for which the only reasonable type of refinement would be +x% to whatever bonus the tech gives should not get refinements (in particular, most resource enhancing techs should not get refinements, because those refinements would have to be boring).
I'd agree so far as to say weapons are one of the best places to use refinements. Other areas of technology would need to have fewer, numerically more significant refinements to stay interesting. Some should have no refinements, because the refinement wouldn't be interesting, or doesn't make sense due to the effect -- though i'm not sure production techs necessarily fall in that category.

I agree 15% isn't very interesting. I guess when i see it in other games i think, "Bleh, that bonus is so small i'm not sure that the difference is worth my time noticing."

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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#44 Post by SowerCleaver » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:14 pm

Refinement for weapons is a fine concept, and can make an earlier weapon relevant for mid- and late-game. I think what that necessarily means is that each weapon type needs to be qualitatively different from one another. If a Lv 5 graviton beam has all features of Lv 1 laser beam, there will be no reason to use one of the two, depending which is more RP-efficient.

It also would mean that applications that are simple percentage boosts would not have refinements, as in those cases the applications themselves are essentially refinements.

The separation of theory and application appears valuable to me. When you are shooting for a higher level tech early, you can research a low level theory without researching any applications under it and shoot for a higher level theory and application. It adds strategic choices.

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Re: Tech Tree Discussion: FO vs. MoO2

#45 Post by OllyG » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:36 am

SowerCleaver wrote:Refinement for weapons is a fine concept, and can make an earlier weapon relevant for mid- and late-game. I think what that necessarily means is that each weapon type needs to be qualitatively different from one another. If a Lv 5 graviton beam has all features of Lv 1 laser beam, there will be no reason to use one of the two, depending which is more RP-efficient.
Yes, each weapon should be different. not just in how much damage it does but in the way affects the target. If lasers purely damage targets, then graviton beams should do something else, maybe they do damage and reduce speed. Lasewrs could do fixed damage at every range and another type of weapon would have reduced effect over range. This kind of thing would make the different kind of weapons much more interesting. In many kinds of computer games ion guns affect sheilds more strongly and temporarily disable the ship, rather than damaging it permanently (they also tend to be blue, with lasers red). I'm not saying we must have ion guns, but that SowerCleaver is right in saying that weapons all need to be different.
SowerCleaver wrote:It also would mean that applications that are simple percentage boosts would not have refinements, as in those cases the applications themselves are essentially refinements.
An effort should be made to make technologies that just give numerical bonuses into refinements. Applications should, idealy, add something new to what an Empire can do, rather than just letting it do things better.

Technology which adds to mining for instance should be a refinement of an application which allows a planet to focus on Mining (which everyone should start with). A Technology which allows mining on asteroids would be a new application. Another example of mining boosting application, rather than refinement, would be something which adds to mining production on a world not focused on mining.

I still think that Applications should be able to have other prerequisties, so that it takes longer to research them. Maybe they should all have a long number of minimum turns, so that they don't come immediately after the refinement.

Having multiple refinements for a single technology is good, but they should if possible not just be +10%, +25%, +50% and so on.

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