Alternate Resources Model
An Alternate Proposal for Resources
Comments, optional rules, etc are writen, like this, in italic. I apologize in advance for any grammar issue this proposal might have. I’m trying very hard to write proper English.
Most games tend to have a single, independent entity as the basis for production of units, resources and other factors of the game. FO has separated several parts of the game from the colony concept but still each colony is pretty much on its own. Each colony grows independently from the rest of the empire and only the extra resources are carried on to the macro level. There are some ideas like migration and the like that could solve this somehow but I wanted to think of a way to handle colony growth from an empire point of view.
The idea is that recently created colonies and stations should depend on the empire to subsist. Colonizing a new planet is after all a great endeavor for the empire, not the result of sending a couple of colonists to do what they can and forget about them after. The idea then is to handle all resources in a global way. Minerals, production, food are carried across the galaxy to where they are needed; huge fleets of freighters are needed to handle the logistics of a growing empire.
Basic concepts behind colonization.
There are 2 important factors to handle in a colony: population and infrastructure. Infrastructure measures the potential of a colony to produce something but population is needed to take this potential and use it.
On the other hand, we have easier places to colonize than others. Different environments, gravity and other factor can hinder the development of a colony. This factor can make expansion more difficult and expensive or even need certain technology to be possible. Building in space can be treated just as another combination of environment (vacuum) and gravity (none).
Planet size is not really a factor here except for the amount of surface available for building. All the surface of a barren planet could eventually be covered, but the costs for doing this would be much bigger than for using a terran planet.
Available Space: Depends only on planet size. Total space is a fixed number for each category in planet size. Nebulae, asteroids and other “empty” spaces could be given a certain size and the “space” environment to allow deep space colonies.
Building Difficulty: Environment and gravity determine the difficulty to population growth and infrastructure expansion in a planet. This can be a factor between 0 and 1. The costs for building and maintaining infrastructure and the rate of population growth will be multiplied by this number.
- Costs = normal * difficulty. - Population growth = normal * (1-difficulty)
health, morale and other considerations for population growth are considered into “normal” Eventually an alternate approach, more similar to the actually used in FO can be selected: Mixing Space and Difficulty to have Available space = total space * difficulty. This is less intuitive and realistic but works more like these kind of games have worked in the past: environment caps the maximum infrastructure of the planet.
Infrastructure is handled storing a certain number of buildings for each resource, much in the same way than factories on Moo1. Each resource has certain parameters that reflect the actual status of the buildings for this resource. The empire has also values for these parameters that reflect the technological state-of-the-art for this resource. The actual value will be equal or less than the empire value at all time. Old buildings could be upgraded to reach the empire level of course.
Houses and other kinds of infrastructure are assumed to go in proportion to actual resource infrastructure, for simplicity’s sake.
Each resource has the following (proposed) parameters:
Number of buildings: The total number of buildings specific for this resource.
Space used: Average space actually used by each building. To avoid storing the actual value for each building we store an average value.
Workers: Average amount of population needed to operate one building of this type.
Production: average amount of resources produced.
Cost: production needed to build another building. (this only exists on the empire level and is used to increase the number of buildings when space is available).
Maybe Operation costs, maintenance, etc????
The resources used would be Farming, Mining, Industry and Research. Trade has been eliminated because each resource infrastructure will compete for available space. And 4 resources are enough. Trade doesn’t need any special infrastructure because you will be in fact trading trade Food, Minerals, Goods and Tech. It will be assumed that trade exists in the empire and a certain amount of money will be produced as a sub product with the production of any other resource. Taxes, inter-empire trade and other methods of boosting currency will be handled later.
The idea is to have 2 different ways to manage the production of resources. One method will deal with the long-term policies for each planet and the other will deal with the short term needs of the empire. These tools are Focus and Priorities.
Focus is a method to distribute the space allocation for each resource. Total available space in a planet is distributed to the 4 resources according to a primary and a secondary focus. The number of buildings in a planet for any resource can only grow till the allocated space is reached. Initially each resource has 10% of the total space allocated, primary focus gives 40% extra to a resource (10% balanced) and secondary focus give the other 20% (5% balanced). This way a resource has a minimum of 10% space and a maximum of 70% with all the focus. These percentages could be adjusted obviously.
Priorities are the way to distribute the existing population and infrastructure growth to the actual needs of the empire. Note than if sectors, governors or any other way of grouping colonies is used later each one can have a different set of priorities.
Since every building needs a certain amount of population to make it work you can actually choose which infrastructure will receive the needed work force first. For this selection I propose that the player assign a production priority to each resource with these options: none (0), low (1), normal (2) and high (3). Each resource gets a fraction of the population given by the selected priority divided by the total. For example:
Farming: low, Research: high, Production: high, Mining: normal. Total = 1 + 3 + 3 + 2 = 10. Farming gets: low / total = 1/10 = 10% of the population. Research gets: high / total = 3/10 = 30% of the population. Etc.
Population is assigned in priority order. If a resource has more population assigned to it than infrastructure to employ them, the extra population is given to the next more important resource.
If a moon base is built in the near future it’s likely that most of the material used to expand it later will come from Earth and not from the moon itself. The same principle applies to colonies. The idea is that each colony tries to produce all it needs and be independent, but if it produces more it export resources to a global stockpile. If, on the contrary, it can’t produce everything it needs, it has to import resources from the global stock. This way, old colonies help new colonies to develop and the player can use resources in the stockpile for other things.
The player should be given the option on how much of the resource stock distribute for colony growth and how much to other aspects. This sets a variable called “rate of growth” that measures the speed at which colonies should build or upgrade their infrastructure. Each colony consumes resources (in the shape of production points) from the stock so it matches the growth rate (exporting/importing resources as necessary). Production points are distributed to each resource infrastructure on each colony accordingly to the mentioned priorities (in the same way than population). The player only has to check the status of the global stockpiles to know how his empire is doing.
Note that this aproach can also be used to establish other options for the empire, like how many food each colonist should have. A “desired nutrient rating” could be used.
If there are insufficient resources in the global stock for all colonies to sustain the desired growth rate, should the available resources divided evenly amongst the colonies, or should they be prioritized?