Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Callahan » Thu Dec 18, 2014 6:09 am

Well, you can always paint the starmap in "Interface.bmp" just black.

The stock ships are good as long as technology does not evolve too much. AI empires will refit their ships with the weapons of their best weapon tech sub field, so they will achieve the best increase in firepower. Remember, weapon size goes down by 1% per tech level in a hyberbolic function for most weapons. So if you have Photon tech 15 and Disruptor tech 5, you will be able to fit more photons than disruptors.

If you're not deep with complete ship design, you should at least update designs from time to time. Right click a ship type and hit that laboratory beaker button. This will set the tech current and free some space. Then left-click the text for the ship engine power to auto use excess space for engines. Then hit "Update design" below "Save design"
Just take a brief look a the designs before building them, especially if you are not familiar with the SFC ship designations.
There are some stock models designed for ground support or ship capture, like the D6G, as well as a few other specialized ship types.

I never made much use of the tax bonus. The systems tell you how much industry you get per structure manned, and that normally exceeds the tax bonus.
Btw. - you can increase the AI industry level at game start if the AI empires are too weak for you.

Yesterday, I discovered that the Borg are probably the most powerfull race, even if they lack any special buildings. I lost 60% of my fleet in driving away some cubes, but was unable to destroy them. They warped out and will return soon, fully regenerated.

Don't worry about the artistic vision. I will design the game mechanics switchable if possible.

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Iceman » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:55 am

Callahan wrote:Well, you can always paint the starmap in "Interface.bmp" just black.
Yeah, I know, I just didn't want to do that. And it was also kind of a suggestion for an improvement. :wink:
If you're not deep with complete ship design, you should at least update designs from time to time. Right click a ship type and hit that laboratory beaker button. This will set the tech current and free some space. Then left-click the text for the ship engine power to auto use excess space for engines. Then hit "Update design" below "Save design"
Cool, that's very important info, thanks. I always wondered what the beaker was for. Like I said, I haven't had the time to try ship design properly.
Just take a brief look a the designs before building them, especially if you are not familiar with the SFC ship designations.
I do, of course. But at this point I mostly look at warp speed, because movement is so slooooww. And firepower too obviously.
I never made much use of the tax bonus. The systems tell you how much industry you get per structure manned, and that normally exceeds the tax bonus.
I was only saying that instead of using pop in industry to build stuff, I was using pop in the labor pool to get more credits to buy that same stuff :wink:
Since there's a default value to both industry and research, even with all non-essential pop in the labor pool, I still do some research and some construction. And since those default values are not fixed as in BotF but depend on population, in larger systems you still get something out of them.
As a side note, I considered building the Farms building, but didn't seem like it was worth it, spending the dole (or the construction time) just to free up 3 or so pop blocks - the increase in taxes by putting them in the labor pool wasn't significant. :wink:
Btw. - you can increase the AI industry level at game start if the AI empires are too weak for you.
That's not what I meant. I was just pointing out that, like mentioned above, I was getting away with buying stuff because I didn't really need to build it. I really don't know what the AI was building or not, I was buying colony ships and cruisers, because I could.
Yesterday, I discovered that the Borg are probably the most powerfull race, even if they lack any special buildings. I lost 60% of my fleet in driving away some cubes, but was unable to destroy them. They warped out and will return soon, fully regenerated.
They're supposed to be :wink: But not as a playable race, yeah. I remember that when I played them for a bit, their ships were too expensive to build. Maybe they're just buying them.
Don't worry about the artistic vision. I will design the game mechanics switchable if possible.
Hehehe, glad you're not the... "sensitive" type. :lol:
I don't think you mentioned the development status of the game yet? I'm taking it as a beta, ready for fixes, improvements and polish, and that's the basis I'm making my... "critics" on. :twisted: The base mechanics certainly seem to be in place.

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Callahan » Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:28 pm

The system basic production is "on top" type, not "instead type" like in BotF. (at least it should be )
In BotF, the first industry manned replaces the 5 free points, making industry inefficient the lower the numbers used.
This is not the case here.
If you don't use your labor you may get 5 more Credits, but pay with 10 to 20 industry for it. Using industry would get you stuff faster than using the tax bonus.

If you want ships with more warp speed, replace impulse power by warp power manually in the design ( or active ship ). You will get less total power & reducing your rate of fire in combat, but you will gain strategic speed, if that is important to you.

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Iceman » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:48 am

Callahan wrote:The system basic production is "on top" type, not "instead type" like in BotF. (at least it should be )
In BotF, the first industry manned replaces the 5 free points, making industry inefficient the lower the numbers used.
This is not the case here.
BotF's way makes more sense, really.
If you don't use your labor you may get 5 more Credits, but pay with 10 to 20 industry for it. Using industry would get you stuff faster than using the tax bonus.
5 base credits. Then you get the bonuses over those 5 credits. Base industry output is 10.
I am using industry, the default value (which in this game is pop based, so with a full homesystem it's relevant enough), to build less important stuff, which I have no hurry to get done. I'm just getting more credits too.

A few corrections about that game.
I have 5 additional colonies, not 4, at turn 51 (all colony ships were bought straight away - the AI is probably not doing this). 3 of those are at 35~40 pop. All the other civs have 2 or 3, the klingons have just colonized the 2nd system - their first has like 120 pop. The only advantage I can see to this is getting another shipyard, but since it requires no power at all, and I can buy all the ships, it's not important for me at this point.
I have 15 sectors under my control, not 13. About double what everyone else has. My economy is at 108. I have 5000+ credits, getting ready to buy the mentioned cruiser.
I have actually built the Farms, probably left it building (with the default industry) while accumulating credits for the ships.
My tech level is actually 2, not 3 - you start at zero, not 1. I only have Fusion 1, must have had really bad luck. All the bonuses went to terraforming I guess, which for the time being won't do me any good I think. I'm also using the default value to do research, only allocating pop to research topically.
If you want ships with more warp speed, replace impulse power by warp power manually in the design ( or active ship ). You will get less total power & reducing your rate of fire in combat, but you will gain strategic speed, if that is important to you.
It's important to get the game into a "playable pace" :wink: 10~15 turns to travel one sector...
I obviously don't want fast ships that are crap in combat.

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Iceman » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:10 am

A couple of other things.

I got a report of "0 (zero) million die tragically in ..." - missing a check?

Have you thought of making colony ships cost population, to try to curb the mentioned colonization rush?

Colony ships are faster (warp speed) than warships. While I understand why, it's kind of weird.

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Callahan » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:30 am

BotF's way makes more sense, really.
I disagree here. In BotF, using a sinlge labor at industry would give me some industry MINUS the 5 free points, but using the same labor in research would give me research + 5 free industry points. Why should I get more total points when NOT using them in industry, but anywhere else?

For industry vs. tax, don't forget that the metal bonus adds up. Most systems will have bonuses of 50+, so 15+ industry per unit. Tech upgrades are increasing the industry by 1 plus bonus, so 1.5 at 50% metal per upgrade. If you are totaling credits + industry with full/no labor you will most probably have the higher number using the workforce.
The only exception will probably be the Ferengi.

The system screen tells you how much one workforce will produce for each branch. Just look at the empire income change when using labor and you can see what is more effective in the end. The AI uses buy, but mostly on constructions that would take 20+ turns to build.
It's just those AI empires are not really managing their resources very effective yet. It's mere A-rtificial I-ncompetence so far.
They are often building expensive stuff over colony ships early in the game.
Same goes for AI combat energy- and manuever decisions. Everything is just working at a basic level.

Your Fusion tech 1 is normal at that level. Weapon sub-techs cannot go over the weapon tech main field. Some may even stay at zero or show little improvement. Terraforming level is made up from 3 main tech fields - Bio, Energy and construction.
Only the 5 main techs are truly researchable fields, the other fields are "by-products" that can increase along.

No, did not really think about colony ships cost population. They only give you 1 pop point on colonization, which is a minor "free" boost.
Those 0 million died, it's a bug. A successfull enemy sabotage that killed a random amount of population. It should have been random + 1. Will be fixed.

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Iceman » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:20 pm

Callahan wrote: I disagree here. In BotF, using a sinlge labor at industry would give me some industry MINUS the 5 free points, but using the same labor in research would give me research + 5 free industry points. Why should I get more total points when NOT using them in industry, but anywhere else?
Hmm, and how does it make more sense to have a system producing 90 industry without anyone in industry and raising it to 100 when you add one pop block to a fabricator, and 50 research without any scientists and raising it to 60 with one pop block in a lab? :wink: It's kind of silly, if you consider the relative values. And apparently if there's noone working in farms, the population of a system is not smart enough to do some old fashioned "biological" agriculture, like in BotF :wink:
The default values are just that, default. Their effect is (supposed to be) residual. By not assigning anyone to industry, in BotF, you lose the ability to generate more credits (if not building anything), while retaining a very limited ability to build stuff. Contrary to your vision, which makes unassigned population create more credits, and still have a somewhat large industrial output. Whatever the explanation for the tax "bonus", it's not really a good design decision IMO.

For industry vs. tax, don't forget that the metal bonus adds up. Most systems will have bonuses of 50+, so 15+ industry per unit. Tech upgrades are increasing the industry by 1 plus bonus, so 1.5 at 50% metal per upgrade. If you are totaling credits + industry with full/no labor you will most probably have the higher number using the workforce.
True, if the system has Metal. But if most of the systems have metal, does it really make absolute sense to have such a bonus? Wouldn't it make more sense to make it rarer so that it is actually something to look for in a system, when choosing which to colonize?

The system screen tells you how much one workforce will produce for each branch. Just look at the empire income change when using labor and you can see what is more effective in the end.
I do look at the numbers, of course. You must have noticed that, since I mentioned the increases in taxes and all. :wink:

No, did not really think about colony ships cost population. They only give you 1 pop point on colonization, which is a minor "free" boost.
Sorry, I meant with a higher starting pop in new colonies. If you would build colony ships left and right, you'd deplete your homesystem's population, and therefore decrease your overall output capacity (industry, research, etc). (this was meant as an alternative to the 1 initial pop thing + empire level growth rate, which makes new colonies kind of "lame" to develop, and doesn't really deterr [me anyway] from going for a colony rush)

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Callahan » Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:40 pm

Iceman wrote: Hmm, and how does it make more sense to have a system producing 90 industry without anyone in industry....
I had to decide to penalize just using industry, or not penalize anything. The latter appeared more applicable to me. The basic production is only 1 point per 10 pop anyway ( modified by systems values ), thus less than 10% of what buildings would produce.
I could make it so only unemployed guys produce basic points, but generally I wanted to reflect the general populace working in small companies, producing goods and even patents/ideas that will be used in construction & research. I think there would still be a lot of those small companies, even if the workforce is fully employed.
Thus I prefered a static value of basic production.

The average metal bonus in systems goes from 40 to 80%. This makes quite a difference already, even if most systems have some kinda metal bonus. Especially with the later development of mining improving structures.
Iceman wrote: I do look at the numbers, of course. You must have noticed that, since I mentioned the increases in taxes and all.
Yes I noticed that. Yet I do not understand why you prefer the tax bonus over the comparably more powerfull industry output.

For the colony ships. I do not believe taking pop away on construction would deter you more from colonizing. The new colonies would just get productive instantly, and you could choose where to use your pop working. Taking 10 from your home system, shipping them somewhere with a higher metal/food bonus would just give you more industry power quick, especially once new colonies would have free starting structures.

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Iceman » Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:47 am

Callahan wrote: I had to decide to penalize just using industry, or not penalize anything. The latter appeared more applicable to me.
In BotF it's not a penalty. The default values are to ensure minimum values for the basic outputs of a system, so that you cannot get into a situation where your colony might not be viable. It's a fail safe. Why should there be any penalty?
OTOH, you gave a bonus to industry and research, and not the rest of the production types. Again, it seems inconsistent.

The basic production is only 1 point per 10 pop anyway ( modified by systems values ), thus less than 10% of what buildings would produce.
Like you said, most systems have Metal, so it's not really always less than 10%. OTOH, why should Metal increase the base output, if there's no one assigned to industry? (if it's industry that is doing the mining that is)
And if you have say 60 base production, that's the equivalent of some 3 or 4 manned fabricators, definitely not less than 10% their output or the system's potential full output.

I could make it so only unemployed guys produce basic points, but generally I wanted to reflect the general populace working in small companies, producing goods and even patents/ideas that will be used in construction & research. I think there would still be a lot of those small companies, even if the workforce is fully employed.
But they don't produce food, energy or intel?
If the workforce is fully employed, then who would be working in those small companies? The private sector, the general populace? Those that don't pay taxes, that don't count towards growth rate or system defense, etc? :wink: But whose patents and ideas are used by the state?

Thus I prefered a static value of basic production.
Fair enough, but it really doesn't make more sense than BotF's way, on the contrary. :wink:

Especially with the later development of mining improving structures.
Is this already implemented?
What does it do? Increase industry output even more?

Yes I noticed that. Yet I do not understand why you prefer the tax bonus over the comparably more powerfull industry output.
Prefer? I didn't say I prefer. I started that game to test if it was possible to play like that - which IMO shouldn't be. It's quite effective, apparently. It's really odd. If I can stay ahead while having 80% of my workforce in the labor pool (whatever the competency level of the AI), I'd say something is not right. But that's just me.

For the colony ships. I do not believe taking pop away on construction would deter you more from colonizing.
It would certainly deter me more. It'd be a real choice. Especially if growth rate was local, not global.
It'd affect my tax income, which I'd lose while pop was in transit. I'd lose production too.

The new colonies would just get productive instantly, and you could choose where to use your pop working.
How is that different from what you have? Wait 3 or 4 tuns, and it is productive, and you can choose where you want the pop working. You just have to buy the facility type you want. Which you have to do anyway right now.
And how is that a bad thing, being productive instantly? :???: It's weird and boring not to be. Having to wait and check pop every turn in order to be able to do something is not even fun. If, on top of that, it doesn't really do what it is supposed to do...

Taking 10 from your home system, shipping them somewhere with a higher metal/food bonus would just give you more industry power quick, especially once new colonies would have free starting structures.
Hmm, more industry power in that particular colony. Which is a small colony. You actually lose shipbuilding capabilities in your homesystem. It's one pop block. It's enough to kickstart the colony, not to make it a powerhouse.

One more comment that is related to this. With ships taking so long to get to another system, instant buys, shipyards not requiring power, and 1 pop colonies, you can send a colony ship to a frontier system, colonize it, buy the shipyard, buy ships there (they don't need to travel) - including colony ships (which don't cost pop) and colonize from there, saving you a lot of travel time.
For the colony ships, it could be prevented by requiring a minimum amount of pop in the system in order to be able to build them.

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Callahan » Sun Dec 21, 2014 1:56 pm

I view the BotF base industry as a penalty because, when using the first industry you get only around + 5 total industry, the second brings + 10 industry. Using the first structure is penalized in some way. I just don't like that.

The Mining structures improve industry in that they augment the metal bonus. 10% mining improvement on 50% metal bonus will boost it to 55%. So benefit depends on the planets.
They become available on construction tech increase. There are other buildings becoming eventually available as well.

The colony ship "leapfrogging" is possible because the AI does not yet fully understand they need to power the shipyards to build ships, so they just dont need power for now. Later you will need enough pop to power the yard to buy ships there.

For the workforce numbers. You need ten million workers to man one industry? And several 10 millions to build one small frigate in reasonable time? They must have really good working hours. Aside the poplulation is very low in BotF - 130 million for Earth? Thats not even the US citizens, 500 millions per block would be more reasonable. So you would need several billions of workers to build that single frigate.
Like I said, I assume only a few thousand of every pop block to be actually employed/employable. The rest is running their own buisness. Which is producing a few additional points usable by the empire.
For food and power, I still consider it. The primary problem is that research and prices raise during the game, making the base points less usefull as the game progresses. With food or power this is not the case, as those needs remain constant.

I do not like the idea of local growth. Humans are not stopping to breed even if it's overcrowded. They would just emigrate to find some sweet spot. I never understood why BotF colonies grow so slowly while there are billions of citizens on overcrowded systems late in the game.

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by AlexMcpherson79 » Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:47 pm

There was a (very) old game I used to play, and it had resource stockpiling, similar to what Supremacy has, but it used *local* stockpiling... instead of empire-wide. local resources grow locally, but... it can be transported by cargo/colony ships. And the size of a new colony is determined by how many colonists can be put on said ships... "Stars!"
Gameplay of Stars!
Each planet had local resources (of which there are 3), in two forms - unmined ores, and the mined metals/whatever. They were stored locally... and used locally.
To use those resources on another planet, one needs to transport it aboard ship (or using Mass Drivers, orbital stations that use mumbo jumbo to accelerate 'mass packets' and fire them at other planets... However, a mass driver of matching or higher level must be on the receiving end... I believe there was a 'loss of mass' part to it with matching-tech... also the speed set to send had an effect.)
Colonists is a fourth resource, though they cannot be transported... by mass drivers, anyway. By ship, yes. Any ship with cargo space can carry passengers... I think there's a life support module needed though to *keep them alive during the trip*. those ships can deposit those colonists on any world, but require a terraforming package to deposit them on otherwise uninhabited worlds. During Race construction, you can set what enviroments are habitable (though there is give and take in that), but I dont recall if that actually effected the terraforming part on matching environs.

I think this is a good trade off, pop growth is local (and I recall some of those playthroughs of STARS giving me messages of overcrowding!) but you can ease 'overcrowding' by colonisation and emigration to other worlds.

I think you could mine that game for some ideas ;)

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Callahan » Mon Dec 22, 2014 6:06 am

Never heard of that game. The descripton sounds like there is a high level of detail. I will try to obtain and test one once I have spare time again.
I actually tried with a separate "mining" industry, but found it was too much micromanagement necessary to keep them in balance with the needs, so it was just integrated in general industry locally.

Transporting colonists, for me, looks like forced relocation. And I'm not a fan of the chinese human rights.
But I like the idea of people leaving overcrowded systems. I'm probably going to design a second "emigration" system instead of the random seeding of new pop.

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by AlexMcpherson79 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:58 am

Just so you know, it's from lie, 1995, and is a *16 bit* game I think (Windows 7 and 8 dont run it directly so youll need a virtual machine of Windows XP... which you can get from microsoft for free I think ;) I did but I dont know what the criteria is to get it free) also the game is free to download since the makers and publishers went down the pan.


As for the transport issue - use it in tandem with "Trade routes".... Stars! ships had waypoints, and could repeat them endlessly. so, when you get a system with huge numbers, assign 'transport route = colonist', the image can be of 100-plus ships in convoy (same SHOULD be of colony ships I reckon.)

hmmm... colonisation through the same method - Colony ship doesn't seed more than "1" unit of pop, if any, but establishes the colony - terraforming, initial buildings/infrastructure, followed up by a large colony seeding from afar with this method... Slow to start with, but massive increases in pop later on if used.. especially if you do it from 5 large systems ;) Include a percent chance of "empty seats" so the increase from that part isn't set and presto, it's not forced migration of 5,000 people, it's 5,000 or near enough people migrating by choice (well, they want more room to themselves!)

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Iceman » Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:54 am

Stars! was one of the best space 4X games ever! A very primitive interface of course, by today's standards, but great gameplay.
Thanks for bringing this up, I guess I'll have to install it again and relive those days!

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Re: Yet another Franken-Monster-Stein-BOTF-Whatever

Post by Iceman » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:29 pm

Callahan wrote: The colony ship "leapfrogging" is possible because the AI does not yet fully understand they need to power the shipyards to build ships, so they just dont need power for now. Later you will need enough pop to power the yard to buy ships there.
With what you have already done, that should be a cakewalk.
It will not solve much though. From the player's perspective I mean. All I need to do is free some pop, assign them to turbines, power up the SY, buy the ships (which is instantaneous, and I can buy as many as I can afford), power down the SY and assign the pop to their previous jobs. All in the same turn obviously.
For the workforce numbers. You need ten million workers to man one industry? And several 10 millions to build one small frigate in reasonable time? They must have really good working hours. Aside the poplulation is very low in BotF - 130 million for Earth? Thats not even the US citizens, 500 millions per block would be more reasonable. So you would need several billions of workers to build that single frigate.
Like I said, I assume only a few thousand of every pop block to be actually employed/employable. The rest is running their own buisness. Which is producing a few additional points usable by the empire.
I'm obviously not going to keep on a circular discussion, there's no point, but trying to excessively rationalize a _game_ ... Many people make that mistake, of trying to "force" the population numbers into "RL" counterparts. Did you ever wonder why professional game studios try to stay away from that "commitment"?
Not sure if you noticed that on Earth, we don't just have 20 or so factories. A fabricator in BotF is not just a factory; heck, it's an entire "country" for all intents and purposes if you will, and encompasses all the people involved directly or indirectly in all forms of industry (which doesn't stop at shipbuilding). Whatever other rationalization you may com up with for a system's production and economy, you'll always fall short. And you run the risk of making the game hostage of some self-induced representation of "realism", likely impacting the fun factor - which is (arguably) the most important aspect of a game.
I do not like the idea of local growth. Humans are not stopping to breed even if it's overcrowded. They would just emigrate to find some sweet spot. I never understood why BotF colonies grow so slowly while there are billions of citizens on overcrowded systems late in the game.
Growth rate is not just about breeding. It's births vs deaths. Zero GR means there are as many births as there are deaths. Today, there are nations facing the problem of very low growth rates (with a heavy impact on the economy), and the planet is not overcrowded.
In BotF there isn't a "magical" transport system where population is teleported instantly to another star system, and that's a good thing. You chose to do so, and not even let those people choose where to go - sounds a lot like "chinese human rights". :wink:
It's an alternative like any other, but it's not better, it's just different.

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