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[Balance] Research speed

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:10 pm
by Iceman
So we need to slow down research as discussed in the other thread. I won't touch the research rate modifiers (as those are global, and are more intuitive this way), but instead increase the research point costs of each tech level (which also allows to fine tune each level separately).

Notice that agents get spawned according to eras (which are based on tech levels), so what I would like you guys to post is something like:

@Normal (1.0), at which turn do you reach each TL
which TLs are fine, which need to be increased or decreased, and if possible by how much
if the agent spawn "flow" is comfortable or feels odd


Additional thoughts on science ships and science stations (and a possible relation to fast research) are also welcome.
And if you have research boosts from Buildings, and their totals (including from minor races).

We probably don't want the tech tree to be finished before turn 300 or so, and not much after 500 or so. @Normal, ofc.

Any thoughts and ideas are most welcome!

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:24 pm
by Iscaran
I posted this already in the other topci:
In my opinion a good pace would be to have ~100 turns for the entire TL to advance (so from TL1 in all fields to TL2 in all fields).
This would allow for enough time to acually use the low tech items - and people not wanting to do this can start with higher TL anyway directly.

In my next game I will keep track of the research progress (with the 0.05 global modifier in place)

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:45 pm
by Iceman
IIRC right now you need ~40 turns @Normal to get to TL2 . I increased TL2 from 200 RPs to 250 in this release.
Maybe further increasing it to 400 it'll be close to 100 turns @Slow? Want to try that and LMK?

And then we would work on the rest of the TLs from there.

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:06 pm
by Iceman
I'm curious though. Why would you want to play 100 turns at TL1, which is but a (much) lighter version of TL2? No Destroyers, no Cruisers, no Science Ships, etc. It's basically just an intro level - so much so that the default starting TL is 2 (Developed civ level).
The only low tech items from TL1 that you might not use anymore in TL2 are the level 1 Production Facilities, once you upgrade them.

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:39 pm
by Iscaran
Maybe 100 turns to reach complete TL2 is too much.

Perhaps my view was a little biased from my last game, as I had like 3 or 4 surveyors and after setting up 2 colonies around turn 20 research increased by a factor of 2 anyway very fast.
Destroyers require only 2 TL2 means you can get them around turn 30-40 if you consider 100 turns for reaching ALL 6 TL2's. IMO thats not too fast.
I really love the early game where one has to think about building a ship or not and whether it is crucial to colonize this first or that and so on.
Also consider it that way - why would you define those tech levels if you only rush through them even before building your first colony ? Then just directly start on a higher level and remove them from game. (whch is not what I suggest :-))

In the current game with reasearch modifier 0.05 it took me to turn 59 to reach Computer TL2, though I could have been maybe 10 or even 20 turns faster IF I had put more ppl on research earlier (I forgot to readjust population on Qonos).

During that time I had build 3 colony ships and 4 constructions ships and a second scout as well as 4 outposts, and founded a new colony, with 2 more colony ships finishing terraforming soon.

IF I had normal reasearch speed I would have had already TL2 in 2 fields before even constructing my first colony ship, a little weird, not ?

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:51 am
by Iceman
IF I had normal reasearch speed I would have had already TL2 in 2 fields before even constructing my first colony ship, a little weird, not ?
Uh, no? :wink:
I mean, it would be weird yes, if it would actually happen. But you can have another colony ship at turn 6, or 9 if you choose to build another scout first.
In my current game with the Klingons, Early start (TL1), Normal research rate (1.0), at turn 11:
- first system terraformed, colonized next turn
- 2nd scout is out scouting, 2nd colony ship halfway to a 2nd system to colonize it
- all research fields at ~25% (from TL1 to TL2), so at this point I could have 1 field already researched, and another halfway through

Of course, you could wait until turn 30 or so to build your first colony ship, but I'm not sure what you'd be building up to that point :wink:


3 or 4 surveyors
Surveyors require some TL2 fields. You probably mean scouts?
Destroyers require only 2 TL2 means you can get them around turn 30-40 if you consider 100 turns for reaching ALL 6 TL2's. IMO thats not too fast.
That'd be kind of boring? 100 turns without any new Buildings or upgrades? Or new ship designs. What exactly do you do during those turns? Turn button mashing? :razz:
Also notice that new ship designs are unlocked roughly every 3 or 4 TLs - ~300 turns to get ship upgrades seems too much, ~500 turns to get Commands and Strikes... Also, if research is too slow, it might make it more difficult for civs that got behind in research (bad luck, lower outputs, whatever) to try to catch up (or even to keep up), which might be fatal.
Also consider it that way - why would you define those tech levels if you only rush through them even before building your first colony ? Then just directly start on a higher level and remove them from game.
Hmm? What do you mean by building your first colony?
If it's colonizing your first system (which I guess it isn't), you do it usually in the first 10 turns.
If it's fully developing your homesystem or your first colony, population will be maximized typically in the first 30-40 turns, which should be when you start getting the upgrades available (if you are using a balanced distribution).
The point of the TLs is to unlock buildings, ships etc gradually so that you *always* have something to do during a game - put in a very simplistic way, of course.
I'm not sure why you're using the word rush, like it takes 10 turns to go through each TL. It's not the case at Normal, not even at Fast (which is mostly for MP IMO). That's (also) why I asked for detailed info on research progress in this thread, to try to see why you are getting that impression.
In the current game with reasearch modifier 0.05 it took me to turn 59 to reach Computer TL2, though I could have been maybe 10 or even 20 turns faster IF I had put more ppl on research earlier (I forgot to readjust population on Qonos).
That's kind of... boring?
50 turns without getting something new (or old, since your colonies are probably at max pop) to build? :shock:
And you only get the scanner, and have to wait another 40 or so turns to get something else.

Now, with that said, the values are exposed in the data files precisely so that people can mod the game to their heart's content. If you like playing that way, that's cool.
I'm not sure that most people would like to have that in the *initial* part of the game though. Mid and late game, that's another story, and hence this thread.

Please don't take this as any form of criticism or anything like that, or a dismissal of your opinion/way of playing, I'm really interested in more feedback from you (and everyone else) for the rest of the TLs. Whatever we come up with, you can always do what you are doing now - edit the research rate modifiers.

Keep it coming!

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:55 pm
by Iscaran
I understand that many might want quicker paced games. But actually in the early stages you move around your scouts - you check the new scouted systems etc.

Why would I want a research where I practically go to TL3 before even making any contact to anyone (playing on huge).

Thats why I think one has to consider a scaling factor to slow down research for different galaxy sizes.

In your game with the now already increased research cost you posted:
by turn 11:
all research fields at ~25% (from TL1 to TL2),
Just for comparison I had turn 59 with 0.05 modifier (which is 1/20th of your speed, unless there is an error somewhere)! and only 1 sub-TL researched.

This is indeed maybe "a little" to slow. But having researched the entire TL2 (all 6 fields) in turn 30 is WAY too fast.

I had played another game with feds before (first game actually of Supremacy) and had really good systems around and normal modifier. I was at tech level 9 before even making contact to another empire ! And that was without even some basic knowhow.

I couldn't even MOVE the built ships in time to the border before they got obsolete.

For me its okay - if you do not increase the research cost as dramatically as I would prefer it. There is always the option to mod the modifier down isn't it ? :-)

But upping the cost by 50-100% at least for the earlier tech levels might be more interesting.

If you don't like to "wait" so long for some upgrade features etc. Then one can always just directly start on a higher tech level or not ?

But typically ppl wanting to start from "0" typically don't aim to have TL 9 before they start going to war or something...its more interesting if you fight a war and are "desperately" waiting for the next ship upgrade to "turn the tide"....thats a feeling which is really cool at times in such games.

Also it makes the decision: Research computers first or get those LV2 farms earlier much more intriguing if it just takes more time...if it just takes
a few turns why bother. Or especially when having research running on ALL 6 fields in parallel - is boring IMO. It is much more interesting if you have to choose which field you need first.

Another thing to think about: in my game I have 100 ResearchPoints output PER TURN starting in Turn 20...with a 300 Cost per field on TL2 this is a mere 3 turns to research.

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:56 pm
by Iceman
I understand that many might want quicker paced games. But actually in the early stages you move around your scouts - you check the new scouted systems etc.
Yes, that's one of the most fun parts of a 4X, the exploration phase. But you want to do *other* things besides moving your scouts around and finding systems. And not just building farms and factories :wink:
Why would I want a research where I practically go to TL3 before even making any contact to anyone (playing on huge).
Why wouldn't you?
I mean, what's the difference betwen TL2 and TL3? A few buildings, a new level in PFs. That's it. No new ship designs, so it's not like you jumped a tier or anything.
Thats why I think one has to consider a scaling factor to slow down research for different galaxy sizes.
Maybe. But this has nothing to do with TL1 or TL2; or even TL3. That's only really relevant for much farther down the line. Hence why I increased TL8+. And the importance of feedback in this thread.
This is indeed maybe "a little" to slow. But having researched the entire TL2 (all 6 fields) in turn 30 is WAY too fast.
I actually don't agree. Like I said above, TL1 is just a stepping stone of sorts for TL2. TL2 is a glorified TL1. I'm not sure I want to wait more than 30 turns or so to get more interesting stuff like Destroyers, Cruisers, etc. Notice I'm still in the same Era (ENT) ! I'm still playing the same "scenario", I just have more toys to do it with. Including agents!
All in all, I'll have over 100 turns to play in the ENT era before I get to the next one (at TL4), which should give me plenty of time to use its items. That's what we need to focus on here IMO, not each individual TL but an era in full. That's when you enter a new "scenario". New TLs only *add* stuff. Eras *obsolete* stuff, and add new stuff.
I had played another game with feds before (first game actually of Supremacy) and had really good systems around and normal modifier. I was at tech level 9 before even making contact to another empire ! And that was without even some basic knowhow.
I understand your point, and this a problem with bigger maps, but again, the problem is not TL1/2/3, we need to work our way through the TLs.
If you don't like to "wait" so long for some upgrade features etc. Then one can always just directly start on a higher tech level or not ?
And if I don't want to wait *zero*? :razz:
And if I want to go through the eras?
You also have another choice, you could force yourself to only activate say 1 lab per colony. :wink:
But typically ppl wanting to start from "0" typically don't aim to have TL 9 before they start going to war or something..
I know it's not your point with this (and I agree with it, like I said above), but you met some minors much before that, yes? You can wage war against them. Conquer them, exterminate them, whatever.
Also it makes the decision: Research computers first or get those LV2 farms earlier much more intriguing if it just takes more time...if it just takes a few turns why bother. Or especially when having research running on ALL 6 fields in parallel - is boring IMO. It is much more interesting if you have to choose which field you need first.
You're talking about TL1. I usually research one field at a time (the test game I mentioned I researched them all in parallel on purpose, for testing purposes) and I find the "flow" to be really comfortable - there's hardly any turn where the build queue is empty, I have the sense of constant progression.
Another thing to think about: in my game I have 100 ResearchPoints output PER TURN starting in Turn 20...with a 300 Cost per field on TL2 this is a mere 3 turns to research.
3 turns to research *each* field. After turn *20*. Like I said the other day, 30~40 turns to get to TL2. And again, TL2 is just a glorified TL1. And not all fields actually give you a new Building, and some of those have specific build conditions (like a planet type). You don't get new ships, new stations, OBs; just PFs, and some Buildings.

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:13 pm
by Iscaran
Why wouldn't you? I mean, what's the difference betwen TL2 and TL3?
If thats true - then why bother starting with TL1 ? Why not just directly start with TL3 ?
Notice I'm still in the same Era (ENT) ! I'm still playing the same "scenario", I just have more toys to do it with. Including agents!
If you are so eager to advance away from the early era - again I ask, why bother STARTING on TL1 then ? Just set the game to start on a higher TL.
L2 is just a glorified TL1. And not all fields actually give you a new Building, and some of those have specific build conditions (like a planet type). You don't get new ships, new stations, OBs; just PFs, and some Buildings.
The destroyer is TL2 prop / comp. already. The surveyor is Bio2/Comp2...thats 2 new ships with just 4 subfields to research.

Given a rate of 100 Research points (which is a mere 4 research buildings on Qonos active) and 300 RP cost per field = 12 turns to have both these items....quite fast. However considering you get just TL3 something not too much later you already have plenty of options, while not even had the chance to use anything of the low stuff.

As I said, my first "guess" to use the 1/20 modifier was probably a little harsh - however dont underestimate the exponentially growing output of your empire.

A single surveyor ship practically doubles your research (in one field).
I understand your point, and this a problem with bigger maps, but again, the problem is not TL1/2/3, we need to work our way through the TLs.
You are right - the problem with bigger maps is not directly a problem with TL1,2,3, however e.g. in Civilization everything scales with map size: Research cost, buy costs, etc. for some reason ...I think the reason is - you need to "scale down" your exponentially growing economy, otherwise everything gets even "more rushy" in the end game.

I do not know at the moment HOW the different tech level costs scale from step to step. But an ~exponential growth (probably quadratic) maybe a good idea.

Means if TL2 = 100 RP then TL 3 should be 400 RP, TL 4 = 900 and so on.
EDIT: And with an additional factor for map size.

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:29 pm
by Iscaran
Btw. Just for the protocol: global research modifier 0.05. (1/10 of SLOW)
Turn 59 Comp2
Turn 103 Bio2
Turn 128 Weapons2
Turn 137 Propulsion2
Turn 138 Energy2

Lets see how this progresses further.

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:18 pm
by Iceman
If you are so eager to advance away from the early era - again I ask, why bother STARTING on TL1 then ? Just set the game to start on a higher TL.
Hmm? I didn't say I am eager to advance to another era. I want to advance to another era, that's the point (or one of) of the game. The higher the era, the better the ships I have access to, and if I get there before everyone else does, I'm in a better position to win the game. But like you mentioned, the (war)ships in the previous era need to be useful. TL1 is not part of this part of the discussion, as it has no warships. TL2 and 3 have to make them useful.
We need to make *all* starting levels balanced, since the game offers them; that means testing them all.
If I want the full experience, I'll start at TL1/Early. If I don't like ENT, I'll start at TL4/TOS. If I don't like the retro looking ships of TOS, I'll get right to TL7/TNG. Etc.
Given a rate of 100 Research points (which is a mere 4 research buildings on Qonos active) and 300 RP cost per field = 12 turns to have both these items....quite fast. However considering you get just TL3 something not too much later you already have plenty of options, while not even had the chance to use anything of the low stuff.
You will not have those 4 labs active at game start. But it doesn't matter anyway. Those destroyers, cruisers and surveyors are *Era* 1 ships, you just get them "at TL2" instead of TL1 (like in all other eras) because you don't really need them at game start - now that I think about this, Transports should also have some level 2 pre-reqs. Like this you have to focus on exploration and colonization in TL1, and choose which fields to research first to unlock the ship type you want first.
A single surveyor ship practically doubles your research (in one field).
They'll typically produce 50~60 RPs, so yes, in the very early game they might double the research in a particular field.
I honestly don't like the concept of survey ships parked in a sector collecting RPs during an entire game, but I really don't know what to do with them. Many times I felt like axing them :twisted:
You are right - the problem with bigger maps is not directly a problem with TL1,2,3, however e.g. in Civilization everything scales with map size: Research cost, buy costs, etc. for some reason ...I think the reason is - you need to "scale down" your exponentially growing economy, otherwise everything gets even "more rushy" in the end game.
If in a huge map it takes longer to research better ships (with more speed and range) and it takes longer to build stations and shipyards and colony ships, and everything else, then you'll have your expansion actually slowed down relative to smaller map sizes... seems totally counterproductive.
Means if TL2 = 100 RP then TL 3 should be 400 RP, TL 4 = 900 and so on.
EDIT: And with an additional factor for map size.
Currently it's 250/500/1000.
For a given map size you also have settings for star density, and planet density.

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:03 pm
by Iceman
After some more testing, you are absolutely correct that the thresholds must be increased! For TL3, definitely.
But most likely not 140 turns for TL2... :wink:

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:36 am
by Iceman
So, would you (or anyone else of course) like to try to come up with some values for this?
At Normal, we should aim for a pace similar to BotF's?
For Slow, either we keep the current 0.5 modifier, or find something else that feels better.

The file to edit is located at:
\Resources\Data\ResearchMatrix.xml
You need to edit each TL in each field.

TIA



To keep in mind:
Re anomalies and research, it seems that the turn you start surveying an anomaly, it works as it should, but the following turns the research from anomalies is doubled... will have to check why.
Will probably disable the empire wide bonus from research gained from surveying anomalies, since science ships already have different ScienceAbility values for each empire (the general bonus is kind of a duplication), and field specific bonuses might be OP?
It's actually not doubled, but I haven't yet determined the source of the issue.

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:54 pm
by Iscaran
now that I think about this, Transports should also have some level 2 pre-reqs. Like this you have to focus on exploration and colonization in TL1, and choose which fields to research first to unlock the ship type you want first.
I absolutely agree. About the exact Values and scaling factors however - this is just MY opinion. I already notice that in this version with the already "upped" costs my 1/20 modifier is seemingly a little harsh - but I'll keep it that and play further along. Lets see how it scales. I will edit or repost the list of turn values as I progress through the game.
I honestly don't like the concept of survey ships parked in a sector collecting RPs during an entire game
I see your point - on the other hand I actually like the idea and what they and science stations do...but certainly their impact on EARLY Games is waaaaay to strong.

If you have just 100 RP to get for a TL and such a ship churns out HALF this value EACH Turn - then its no wonder why TechGaining is so incredible fast.

Compare to the TL1 university = 25 RP then a parked surveyor is nearly the same as having a research building on your homeplanet.

Perhaps it would be more interesting if one could "research" anomalies only ONCE with surveyor ships ? And only Science stations would give a turn based return comparable to 1 University building of the same Techleve as the science station is in ONE Field ?
If in a huge map it takes longer to research better ships (with more speed and range) and it takes longer to build stations and shipyards and colony ships, and everything else, then you'll have your expansion actually slowed down relative to smaller map sizes... seems totally counterproductive.
The point is that on a small map your empire consist lets say of just 3 planets or so over most time of the match - while on Huge you easily might have 30 planets or more ! Therefore the output in research is scaling the same - means to get the "same" speed of progress the RP costs on huge must be much higher ! Not linearly however, since of course on huge WITH a size scaling factor for RP you will progress "slower" in the early game - but still be equally fast or even faster in the late game.

Btw. the building times do not scale with size at the moment - so a colony ship TL1 is built in 4 turns on Small, the same as on huge.
I wouldn't change building times too much, though - as I think they would be OK, but the Research progress would be way out of "order" if it does not scale with universe size.
Currently it's 250/500/1000.
For a given map size you also have settings for star density, and planet density.
I see, so you use a factor of 2 for scaling research...probably might be OK for a given size setting - but IMO you need to somehow factor in planet density (and maybe galaxy size, basically "total numbers of planets" into the research scaling - apart from the increase from level to level.

From my recorded numbers of Research breakthroughs we can easily setup a calculation how this would have changed to what amount of turns depending on the settings and scaling factors. As soon as there are more data collected.

Re: [Balance] Research speed

Posted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:02 pm
by Iceman
Another thing to think about: in my game I have 100 ResearchPoints output PER TURN starting in Turn 20...with a 300 Cost per field on TL2 this is a mere 3 turns to research.
It just hit me... I mean, why we were having different experiences.
When I tested this some time ago to tweak the research costs, it took me about 37 turns IIRC to get to TL3. When you said 3 turns per field, I was kind of confused. The thing is, in that game I started at TL2, and your description was re a game started at TL1.
Starting at TL1 or TL2 produce different results (several labs vs one or two labs), which is one of the reasons why TL1 is so "short". If we expand it, we'll be making the difference even more pronounced.

The same will happen when starting at the other civ levels, but it'll be even worse...