Think I've found 2 bugs in 'Screens.str':
[FederationDescription] Planets are given free rule. Productivity soars, but your Approval Rating will prove key in keeping the planets from breaking away from your empire.
[FederationDesriptionGood] Planets are given free rule. Productivity soars, but your Approval Rating will prove key in keeping the planets from breaking away from your empire.
[FederationDesriptionEvil] Planets are given free rule. Productivity soars, but your Approval Rating will be the key to keeping planets from breaking away from your glorious empire.
there's a "c" missing, both descs won't show up ingame.
Agreed. That's why I wanted some feedback on them. I'm not entirely sure what cost I should give them. The QPP could probably stay slightly more expensive than the Industrial Sector. 275 maybe? As for the other two, I have no idea. Also, what about the other manufacturing/research boosters? Should we re-adjust their costs too?
I'd reduce FPP to 65 buildcost but decreased AI to 15 or 20.. 10% isn't really much for a tile and on a frshly colonized Initial Colony it'll net 1-2 PP, so it should rather be built late.
AMPP cost to 125 or 150 and AI to 20 or 25.
From my point of view that would be then in line with your proposed change to the QPP - which is fine.
Also, what about the other manufacturing/research boosters? Should we re-adjust their costs too?
Yes, if something is off we may correct it. However, what is your design-stance on these improvements in general? In my opinion, they're an alternative to merely mounting raw-production which is expensive - so they're the cheaper alternative on mediumPQ worlds - and a must-have on highPQ worlds although useless on lowPQW worlds. Because the AI doesn't consider this (or: know to not place them on lowPQ worlds) a potential fix to ease this problem is to make them more cheap to build but adjust their bonuses accordingly. Another would be to leave the bonus intact but reduce the AI-tag so they're not built everywhere.
But I didn't look specifically into all the existing prod-enhancing objects. I usually try to figure out what the devs intended by looking at the "whole picture" of the vanilla sheets, not only in conjunction with facs, but also racial attributes and general racial strengths. There are - or were - clearly some different intentions at large, for example a lot of TA buildings are actually less strong than their generic counterpart to (I suppose) act as a throttle for that particular race. I'm fine with that if, at least, a building reserves itself a tiny niche where it's still reasonable for a player to build it.
Let me take a quicklook at the current layout:
- Molecular Fabricator doesn't need any boosts, and for its power it's deadcheap - Refinery as well. But I guess that is fine considering it's Precursor-technology and the Iconians factories are rather weak.
- The Yors ManuVortex currently is a copyclone of the QPP albeit at decrease costs but with more maint. In vanilla it was only 15% which was much too weak for its costs. The way I perceive Yor industry is that it is more powerful in output, but coming at increased buildcosts, and having less maint (in order to not conflict with the Yors difficult economy). So if I'd rebalance this one I'd set its cost to 125% of the QPP, reduce maintenance to 1 bc and adjust the bonus to 25%. I'd also set its upgrade-target to the QPP so you can't build both in a techtradeing game.
All Drengin/Korath prod-boosts are too expensive - some by much. And their maintenance is too high. The way I understand their design is that the usage of slaves makes their industry less efficient in raw output but also more cheap (because you don't pay slaves a salary...) Having cheaper industry is also inline with having worse "banks".
I've got to disagree here. I find it to be just right.
First, the Korath can currently get a total manufacturing bonus of 130% just from improvements in their tech tree. Sure, it requires seven tiles to get that number, but it's still a lot. I'd rather not increase that value, because it would make the Korath manufacturing even stronger.
Second, the Aul Incinerator currently provides 1.5x as much as the other Drengin/Korath manufacturing boosters, needs no maintenance, but costs an additional tile. That seems fair for a high-PQ forge world. If you already got six Slave Canyons, adding a Aul Incinerator would provide more production than adding two more Canyons, but at less cost (no maintenance or influence-penalty). Sure, using it on a normal or low-PQ world isn't a good idea. However, we can make adjustments, so that the AI is less inclined to do that.
Lastly, part of the Korath design was that their improvements have downsides attached to them. At the moment, that is only the case for the Slave Pits/Canyons and the Incinerator. Which is one of my issues with the current implementation of the Korath and Drengin. Increasing the bonus of the Incinerator would basically negate that cost. A value of 40%, for example, would make the Incinerator grant the same amount as one Devil's Forge and a Death Furnace. However, the Incinerator has no maintenance, making it clearly the superior option, if you already intended to use two tiles. Even with its original maintenance cost, it would still be better. Increasing the bonus even further would only makes this worse. Plus, it would encroach on the Molecular Fabricator, which is meant to be the best manufacturing booster in the game.
The 'Death Furnace' likewise also offers 30%. That improvement actually looks like it was supposed to be the smaller brother of the AUL Inc - but now it is superior than that (and the 5bc maint is nothing compared to a PQ reduction).
I just find the whole concept not well thought out... shrug
First off, building all these improvements onto a planet is out of question because that won't get you anywhere. Most planets don't have even that enough space - especially considering the Korath do have a set of unique and uberstrong 1PPs which they need to build as well. So we're talking only +PQ20 here.
Then, you're still *faster* using only ordinary Slave Canyons because these come at 50%-25% costs. And because Korath do already have 25% MP + 50% MP from techs these will already get enhanced by alot. In most lowPQ and mediumPQ designs you're better off with Slave Canyons (if you don't forget to build other stuff...)
I just made a table with a simple test where I build all these boosters against a world where I just build Canyons, and no surprise, the Canyons beat the boosters by much in productivity, even the cost/spending-ratio was better. Had to add several Canyons to the boosters to come even, but still that approach is much more costly to pull off.
And actually a prod-booster impr is only reasonable when it accompanies a few Slave Canyons, but here you've got the problem of missing space - so if there's space still left you've got to pick between 6 different boosters. Of which the Death Furnace is the #1 option, and if you've got additional space you'll pick rather 40% than the 30% from AUL. So that makes the AUL the worst option IMO. The only thing that's good with it is no maint, but it costs 100-200 SP more to build and will result in an overall loss of productivity. Thing is the desc of the techs rather hints at "immense" output, not less.
The whole desing is completely unreasonable. The only intention I could come up is that someone at SD thought it would be cool if Korath randomly filled all their planets with evil-looking stuff designed to torture slaves (or clones) to quench more production out of them. Because that's what their doing - just picking this or that. Start a Korath game, cheat all techs to you let the AI colonize & outbuild 100 planets - then go and see how it did that. In 99% of all cases you'll be able to make production more efficient by alternating stuff. With most other races that would be down to ~~50% because the rationale is down to "how many facs you need to build first until a power plant becomes reasonable".
The Korath are not well designed and the spored-worlds dilemma only adds to that. Not that they are related or that we can do much about it, but it simply tells me the designer didn't really had much time to deal with them.
IMO some of the boosters should be turned into strong 1PP raw-production factories. This "specialization" into boosters-only is nonsense from a mechanical point of view. Boosters always need raw production alongside with them and the Iconian-approach shows how to do it. If the AUL Inc then is stronger/weaker than whatever counterpart also coexists in their tree that's not relevant to me - the whole picture has to be right, that is:
1. The AI doesn't do silly things.
2. The player doesn't shake his head why he just spend a ton of researchpoint to get a new improvement that is actually inferior to what he already could do.
Agreed. That's even more of a problem, when the AI builds a PP on a planet with no factories. However, finding the right AI value is going to be tricky. It needs to be low enough that the AI builds primarily factories, but not too low so that the AI never builds any PPs.
We'll find the right values once testgames start.
Also, what about the Torian labs? I'm still worried that their buildcosts are too high. Especially for the Technology Commune.
I agree. I think the Torian labs were deliberately designed to be a throttle for the Torians, however, their unique labs become completely obsoleted if they get their hands on the generic counterparts. They are more expensive to build, have more maint and net lesser research....^^ And in a way understandably because, if I judge the icons right, they're having water in their classrooms^^. I'd say reduce buildcosts by some amounts, esp. on the Commune, it's already 5% less strong than the RCC and has obscene maint. Guess the maint won't be a probl for the Breeders. And perhaps adjust Schools back to their old design (less maint, less costs) since it's the only spamable impr they have on startup.
Yes, it's intentional. In case of the Yor and Thalan it's primarily to give them time to get a stronger economy, before they start colonising extreme planets. Whereas for the Iconians it's to slow down their access to the remaining X-Col techs a little. Well, as far as the AI is concerned at least.
We also need to keep an eye on this during testplays. If the other AIs are able to use their headstart to snatch away all the X-planets from them it may be a heavy nerf under a frequent-map-setting. Nevertheless, your intention is okay, it just looks a bit "off".
The Pacifists could get their original Social Production bonus back again and a small increase to the Diplo bonus. Maybe 20% Diplo, 10% SP?
yeah fine with me
You mean the Populists? I'm not sure how focusing on the needs of your people makes you better at spreading your culture to other races. It's the same issue I had with the original Diplomacy bonus.
yeah I must've mixed something up here, that would indeed not make much sense. Still, it's a lot of same bonuses used... Anyway, given the weak nature of many of these parties I drop the subject.
This is actually one of the topics I wanted to talk about after the current changes got fully addressed.
Is there a region of the current implementation you'd like to have some feedback? I must've looked over most the changes, and so far so good.
I would go back to the vanilla values. Most of them are fitting and pretty reasonable. Where that is not the case, we can then make further adjustments. However, some of that has been made more difficult, due to some of the tech changes. For example, the Yor originally had fewer Phasor techs, which allowed them to get to the Doom Ray much more quickly. However, they now have the same number of techs as everyone else (three) and the same research cost. The Arceans, Drengin, and Korath originally lacked access to certain high-end defence techs. However, re-implementing that would be way too big of a dis-advantage, because of the current weapon/defence balancing and the significant reduction in defence techs. The Altarians and Drath had an additional Disruptor model (and the Drath an additional Photonic Torpedo model), but re-implementing that would clash with the current design of three tech per weapon/defence tier.
We should be able to sort this out easily. The homogenization of the techtree made it also much more boring, so if you've got nothing against we simply diversify it to add a touch of vanilla back into it. If it's just for technology that could be easily done by either
- scrapping individual techs
- reducing or increasing tech-costs
or a combination of both.
We can actually base the changes linearily to the relative adjustment that was there in vanilla:
Phasors I to VII = 14500 RP - Yor had that reduced by 3 techs (-5900 RP) making only 8600 RP which is a reduction of 41%.
CU Phasors cost 6600, so a similar reduction of -2700 RP would be in order. I'd delete the middle tech (-2200), take -200 from the first and -300 from the last tech away. (f you think that method is okay...)
Yeah, locking players out of defensive techs will be unfun. In this case increasing their costs could be of similar effects. YIP doesn't really dive into defenses before, at least, its weapon-branch-ultimate has been completed, so that shouldn't be a prob for Drengin/Korath AI.
Adding new weapon-techs may be not doable without fiddling with the current design around. The only quick-solution I see here are new techs bare of any modules - perhaps with just a tiny miniaturization or weapons-bonus.
Overall, I'm not sure how to do the weapon/defence adjustments for some of the races, without also doing a complete re-balance of the whole system. Which might actually be necessary. Part of the current system feels quite imbalanced, in my opinion. For example, the Evil weapons and Good defences become outdated after only one generation, and beam weapons become the best damage dealers once Disruptors get unlocked, while mass drivers remain the weakest throughout the game. It feels quite surreal that one Doom Ray has more than three times the damage rating as one Black Hole Generator (32 vs. 10). Sure, the Doom Ray is also much bigger than the BHG, but it still feels odd. Especially when you consider that the BHG has the same damage rating as a Disruptor or Anti-Matter Torpedo.
I agree that the ethical-weapons are lackluster. I'd rather change their designs to be more OP but with a heavy price. In DA there were also other weapons IRRC 'Nano Ripper' and I found that quite interesting.
However, reverting back to vanilla may piss some folks off. There's been just too much work been done on the weapons-overhaul. AFAIK Silas even programmed a simulator to test the potential strength of his designs. Even on all hulls, although no detailed information on how the exact nature of the program, the various increments (minia, log, luck, def, repair, left-over space etc) was given. Just the results, and I had my share of backchecking and I found no errors.
To elaborate further, the simulation tested a shipdesign including its buildcosts - and produced about 100k bcs worth of it and let them fight against each other. The overall distinction of the 3 weapon-types was that Driver were deadcheap but had less raw power, and slowly became tiny, also less research-costs. Missile was sort of the opposite in terms of raw power and researchcost, while Beam became slowly greater in size.
Because it was boring to have all tiers of all weapons amount to always equal strengths a cyclical nerf and buff of always one weapon-type on each tier was introduced, and repeated 1 time. Which means that you may pick an inferior branch, but if you manage to stay alive for just another tier you'll be able to research a weapon that is better than the competetors. Although that isn't really visible right from the start because tier1 still holds many individual techs.
You can read more about this, and the sim-results on p.44 and onwards.
Nevertheless, I do not have a hard opinion on any of the weapon-balancing approaches I've seen so far - simply because most AI just randomly pick a branch. Next game they'll pick another. So even if a whole branch would be OP, they only unbalancedness it would create is if a player would notice that and always go down that route (I did so with ScatterBlaster for Yor in vanilla). And Duranthium.... Was funny though
The only thing currently is that perhaps the tree looks quite boring compared to vanilla. There needs to be more differentiation, things for players to explore and try-out.
Plus, the fact that, end-tier weapons are completely unbalanced against hitpoints of hulls. But that is a prob on any approach I've seen so far. In the beginning combats do have 20+ rounds and later, only 1. +1000 attack versus 200 HP. Screws defenses or HP mods.