V3 ScratchPad

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Meters and Resources

Every planet’s got a bunch of meters, ranging in value from 0 to 100. Each meter’s got a max value and a current value. The current value slowly (each turn) increases until it matches the max value. The current value of each meter represents actual buildings, people, or whatever.

  • Population -- how many people are on the planet.
  • Construction –represents roads, office towers, everything that doesn’t fit into other meters. Determines how fast the other meters rise.
  • Farming -- determines how much food is grown on the planet. 20 Farming is required for a planet to feed itself
  • Mining -- determines how many minerals are mined on the planet
  • Industry –determines how many minerals are ground up into Production Points
  • Science --determines the number of Research points generated
  • Trade --determines the amount of money generated

There’s also the social meters. These meters only have a max value—they don’t slowly build up like the other meters:

  • Health – determines how quickly population grows or shrinks. At 20 Health and below population shrinks.
  • Happiness – not used in v.3. Presumably, at 20 and below bad things happen.
  • Security – not used in v.3. At 20 and below, bad things happen.

Just like v.2 of FreeOrion, the current values of each resource meter are multiplied with population to determine how much of each resource is generated. As in v.2, each resource meter (Farming, Mining, Industry, Science, Trade) can hold a Focus:

  • Primary Focus adds + 15 to the selected Max Meter
  • Primary Balanced Focus adds +3 to all Max Resource Meters.
  • Secondary Specialized Focus adds +5 to the selected Max Meter
  • Secondary Balanced Focus adds +1 to all Max Resource Meters.

Gameplay Considerations for meters

  • New colonies suck. They can’t even feed themselves and they produce next to nothing. It takes a while before a new colony is an asset to the empire, instead of a liability. This is because no matter what it’s max meter is, it’s current meters require time to grow.
  • Colonies on worlds with poor environments really suck. They have poor Health and Farming—it isn’t worth colonizing a poor planet unless there’s a good strategic reason.
  • The homeworld rocks. It gets a bonus of +10 to most meters. The homeworld pays for the rest of the empire, in the first couple dozen turns of the game. Some early techs might *only* improve the homeworld.
  • All of the effects in the game (techs and buildings) put together should add up to somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 to 80 to each meter. (this leaves room for government and leader effects later on)

Gameplay considerations for food

  • Early game, there just isn’t enough food to go around. The player won’t be able to concentrate on rapid expansion until he solves the built-in food shortage.
  • An empire with 4x as much food as population receives Health and Happiness bonuses

Gamplay Considerations for Focus

  • Focus is how we judge if a planet should receive most bonuses. Most bonuses should only effect worlds of a certain focus. This means a Farming world will catch a lot more Farming bonuses than a world set to Mining.


Every tech is either a Theory or an Application. Theories unlock Applications; applications actually do stuff, unlock buildings, or unlock ship components.

Techs cost X RP for Y Turns to research. There is no method of speeding up research: it always takes at least Y turns.

Gameplay Considerations for Foci improving Techs

  • Most techs should improve a specific focus
  • Some techs should improve the balanced and secondary foci as well as the specific focus

Gameplay Considerations for Early Techs

  • The homeworld all by itself should be able to research early techs, meaning RP costs should range from 10 to 25. A tech that costs 25 RP per turn would require the homeworld be Focused on researching. Number of turns might range from 5 to 20.
  • Early techs should solve the food shortage problem, but not completely.
  • Early tech bonuses should be small.

Gameplay Considerations for Mid Techs

  • The assumption is that there will be multiple worlds at the same level as the homeworld in Mid Game, with tech bonuses. The average world that isn’t focused on Research will probably have a research score of 10. With focus, 20 to 40. A mid game tech should therefore probably cost 25 to 500 RP per turn.
  • Mid tech bonuses are all over the scale, but should mostly be significant.

Gameplay Considerations for Late Techs

  • The empire will span dozens of worlds, each with high levels of tech bonuses. 500-3000 per turn sounds right.
  • High tech bonuses should actually be smaller than mid-game bonuses. The player is paying to be just a little bit better than the competition.


Like Research Points, Production Points are pooled globally. Buildings, like techs, cost X PP for Y turns to build. Again, there is no method of speeding up a build: it always takes at least Y turns.

Buildings also have prerequisite conditions: generally based on the Focus of the planet and the current Construction meter. Nice buildings should not be buildable on newly colonized worlds.

Buildings have an upkeep: an amount of money they eat every turn.

General Gameplay considerations for buildings

  • Buildings in FO are in fact Wonder-sized structures. Massive costs to build, massive costs to maintain. There should be one to two buildings per planet. Most planets will have 0 buildings—as it makes sense to concentrate buildings on a few “hub” planets.
  • Buildings are generally Area-of-effect. Many buildings improve all planets within the same starsystem, or all planets within 1 or 2 starlane hops away.
  • This creates clusters: if the player builds a building that improves Science focused worlds, he’ll want to set many of the planets within the area of effect to the “Science” focus. The player must micromanage his buildings’ locations, so that his total empire has as few wasteful overlaps as possible, much like the schools and firestations in SimCity.
  • Many buildings also have negative side-effects. The player must micromanage his building’s locations to avoid the worst of the negative effects.
  • A planet with a nice building is also a nice target for attack. You can take out the economy of an entire cluster if you take all the worlds with buildings.

Early Buildings

  • There should be very few early buildings.
  • Early buildings should be buildable by the homeworld acting alone. For this reason, early buildings need a build cost of 10 to 25 per turn.
  • Early buildings should be maintainable by the homeworld acting alone. Maintaince of 0 to 12. There needs to be some money held back for ship upkeeps.
  • Early buildings should have small effects and severe negative side effects. This is so the player isn’t tempted to populate his entire late game empire with early buildings.

Mid Buildings

  • Cost per turn and maintaince of 25 to 500. Maintaince should be controlled, to so there’s some money left over for ship upkeeps.
  • Effects can be better, side effects much less severe, but still something the player needs to micromanage.

Late Buildings

  • Cost 500 to 3000.
  • Effects are generally small, but with few or no negative side effects.
  • There can be “game changing” buildings, but they should have huge negatives.


There are three basic kinds of effects…tech effects are empire wide, building effects tend to be area-of-effect (with frequent exceptions), specials tend to have effects that only operate on a single planet.

Effects can be “targeted” to only operate on certain kinds of planets, as explained in the Effects document. For example, you might have a building that only operates on enemy worlds within 2 starlane hops. Or a building that only effects planets orbiting a yellow star.

Most good effects should be targeted to effect planets with a certain focus. Techs should probably never have bad side effects, since the player can’t get rid of a researched technology.

Some ideas for negative side effects

  • A building that gives bonuses to enemy worlds as well as friendly worlds
  • A building that spawns bad events on nearby worlds (a MegaFactory that produces Pollution.)
  • A building that drastically reduces a meter value on the planet that holds it (a massive strip mining operation annihilates Farming, reducing it to 0)
  • A building that “hates” a certain Focus, causing huge negatives if any planets with that focus are nearby.
  • A building that “hates” another building, causing huge negatives if they are next to each other.

Some ideas for positive effects beyond simple bonuses

  • A building that gives bonuses to an unrelated meter for a Focused world (a BioLab that improves Farming on Science focused worlds)
  • A building that removes bad events on nearby worlds (removing the MegaFactory’s pollution, for example)
  • A building that spawns good events on nearby worlds (a baby factory that spawns Population Explosion events)
  • A building that adds directly to the empire’s stockpile, skirting around the population*resource formula
  • A building that only gives bonuses to planets that have another kind of building
  • A building that gives penalties to enemy worlds as well as friendly worlds. Something to stick on the border of your hated enemy.

Future notes

In v.4, we’ll have various kinds of shipyards and other kinds of buildings that effect ships. Happiness and security meters, along with the event engine and planet specials, will vastly increase the types of effect conditions that are possible…furthering complicating the micromanagement decisions the player will have to make.