Idea: Merging planetary production

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enpi
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Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby enpi » Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:36 am

One of the bigger problems for many players in a 4x game is that in later game stages the amount of planets are overwhelming, boring and difficult to manage. So I thought about solution to this problem.

One solution to this problem could be, when planets are maxed out with building slots, to merge planetary production points of planets in the same star system. This means the production of all merged worlds is reduced to just a single queue. Its not only time a saver for managing planets, the resulting greater industrial output number could also shorten the time to build bigger ships. For example a system consists of 3 planets producing 50, 10 and 90 points. If they are merged the output of the whole system should be 150 points per turn and bigger ships could be built faster.

Such a system could even lead to a kind of industrial hub and "imperial provinces" because in later games with hundreds of planets even groups of nearby star systems could possible be merged into just a single production queue. Of course re-doing the merge should also be possible at any time for more micromanage possibilities if the player likes this.

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby Arioch » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:15 am

Reducing late-game micromanagement is an important goal. Being able to pool resources is already represented to a certain degree through the shared Metal resource and the Research and Trade production activities. The two hurdles to overcome with literally pooling Wrench production system-wide are 1) how to manage this in a single-planet production model, and 2) how to prevent it from becoming an absurdly overpowered strategy.

The idea of a system-level shipyard has been mentioned before, but that would require a whole new mechanism for system-level infrastructure that doesn't currently exist.

I think one possible way to manage it would be to add a "Manufacture Parts" production activity, which would allow a planet's Wrench production to be transferred to another planet in the same system. It might make sense to require certain infrastructure for this transfer: the receiving planet should have some kind of orbital station with a Construction Module (or maybe a full-blown Shipyard), and perhaps the sending planet should have some kind of infrastructure as well, perhaps a Spaceport module (the parts need a way to get from one planet to the other), and the transfer of production points should probably be at a small penalty (perhaps -20%, or variable based on the available infrastructure). A production pooling activity would need to compete on an equitable basis with the Research and Trade activities, which involve a significant conversion penalty.

There are a number of problematic edge cases to work out. Should Parts be usable only for building ships, or for all buildable items? Should they add to Research or Trade or City Planning activities on the target planet?

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby bjg » Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:54 am

To start you can allow to build/refit big ships if one of the system's planets have the required infrastructure. That shouldn't require much tweaking (I think).

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby Arioch » Mon Mar 14, 2016 5:01 am

bjg wrote:To start you can allow to build/refit big ships if one of the system's planets have the required infrastructure. That shouldn't require much tweaking (I think).

Seems like an unnecessary complication that could lead to strange behaviors and player confusion. If you have multiple build queues trying to share a single shipyard (which can only build one ship above a certain size at any given time) it becomes problematic to determine what options should be shown in the build menu for each planet, which queue gets priority when there's a bottleneck, etc.

Refitting is currently a hassle that should be made much less problematic when we implement the system that gives you the option to pay for refits (and refit by class, and refit multiple ships).

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby mharmless » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:06 pm

Arioch wrote:There are a number of problematic edge cases to work out. Should Parts be usable only for building ships, or for all buildable items? Should they add to Research or Trade or City Planning activities on the target planet?


I like this notion. As it is, when you get some new colonization tech you are often backfilling worlds in systems you already control. Why _shouldn't_ the industrial capacity on Gaia be usable to rapidly develop that little airless world it shares a system with? I can ferry over a planet-load of people in one turn with abstracted freighters in-system, so why not a factory?

I really like this idea.

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby enpi » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:58 pm

Arioch wrote:Reducing late-game micromanagement is an important goal.


Yep. At least for those guys who dont like micromanagement. Dont forget there are alot of nerds who loves it. (like myself :)) My suggestion was made to help those players who are not like me. Especially the younger players who grow up with twitchy mouse games dont have patience to play a 4x because there is too much to do and they become bored.

Arioch wrote:The two hurdles to overcome with literally pooling Wrench production system-wide are 1) how to manage this in a single-planet production model, and 2) how to prevent it from becoming an absurdly overpowered strategy.


1) IMO managing is even simpler than the current system. In the current system I have eg. 5 star systems with in average 3 planets producing 15 things at the same time. When you merge the production queues of the planets in those systems, only 5 queues are remaining, one per star system. They pump out the objects faster, but 5 different queues are are always much easier to manage and oversee than 15.

But maybe you mean with "managing single-planet production model" how to determine which object is built on which planet? In this case you could introduce a routine, where the player can allocate the object which is currently in the queue to a certain planet, maybe with a single click-box. Or if it is a ship it could automatically travel to a pre-specified rally point anywhere in the empire.

2) "absurdly overpowered strategy" - I cannot see any real "overpowering" in this system. The number of wrench points stay the same as in the old model, they are just pooled together. Maybe you can explain why you think that the merge model is "overpowered"?
In case it is really overwpowered you could always introduce a eg. 10% production penalty in wrench points for the merging planets. (call it attrition or corruption)



Arioch wrote:
The idea of a system-level shipyard has been mentioned before, but that would require a whole new mechanism for system-level infrastructure that doesn't currently exist.


Its not my idea to have a system level shipyard, but system level planetary production. In this model the shipyard is just the point where the ships appear.


Arioch wrote:I think one possible way to manage it would be to add a "Manufacture Parts" production activity, which would allow a planet's Wrench production to be transferred to another planet in the same system. It might make sense to require certain infrastructure for this transfer: the receiving planet should have some kind of orbital station with a Construction Module (or maybe a full-blown Shipyard), and perhaps the sending planet should have some kind of infrastructure as well, perhaps a Spaceport module (the parts need a way to get from one planet to the other), and the transfer of production points should probably be at a small penalty (perhaps -20%, or variable based on the available infrastructure). A production pooling activity would need to compete on an equitable basis with the Research and Trade activities, which involve a significant conversion penalty.


Why not just introduce a "merge system" button in the planet list on the left, where players can click on. And done. The planets are chained together and only one queue appears. Of course include an un-merge button, if the player wants to control every planet manually again.
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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby bjg » Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:14 pm

enpi wrote:Why not just introduce a "merge system" button in the planet list on the left, where players can click on. And done. The planets are chained together and only one queue appears. Of course include an un-merge button, if the player wants to control every planet manually again.

Master and Slave concept (in computer terms).
But what happens if you want to build a local improvement (building, terraforming)?

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby Arioch » Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:54 pm

enpi wrote:IMO managing is even simpler than the current system.

By "managing" I meant making the feature work in our current game. "Merging" planets and tracking system-level production would require substantial changes to the current planet-level production model.

enpi wrote:"absurdly overpowered strategy" - I cannot see any real "overpowering" in this system. The number of wrench points stay the same as in the old model, they are just pooled together. Maybe you can explain why you think that the merge model is "overpowered"?

We would need to implement and playtest it to fully understand the balance implications, but I can think of a few red flags right off. Having a single planet that produces 150 points per turn is significantly more advantageous than three planets that produce 50, 10 and 90 points, because it means you can produce large items more quickly. Planets have population caps, so there is a maximum production per turn per planet at any tech level, which is what large-ticket item costs are balanced around. Being able to pool production systemwide would mean that if you have a lucky system with 3 or 4 habitable planets, you can make a virtual uber-planet with 60-80 population that can churn out dreadstars like candy.

Another case is the colonization of new planets in an existing system. Getting a new colony up and running is meant to take a investment of time unless you spend a lot of money to speed it up by rush-buying infrastructure and/or by transferring population to the new colony. If you can pool production systemwide, then it becomes trivial to build up ia new colony if there is an already established world in the same system.

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby enpi » Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:21 pm

Arioch wrote:Another case is the colonization of new planets in an existing system. Getting a new colony up and running is meant to take a investment of time unless you spend a lot of money to speed it up by rush-buying infrastructure and/or by transferring population to the new colony. If you can pool production systemwide, then it becomes trivial to build up ia new colony if there is an already established world in the same system.


Ok I understand now. Thats really an advantage. New colony bases would grow exponentially if not regulated in some way, like a merge tax, thats true.

It was just a suggestion to help late game management of several hundred of planets every turn. If you think that it is not possible without big changes, no prob for me at all. I love micromanagement. I play Galciv on Insane size atm and I manage over 600 colonies and dozens of spaceyards per turn now. :)
Last edited by enpi on Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby enpi » Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:56 pm

BTW MOO4, as imperfect it is now, has an interesting system to transfer wrench points from one planet to another in your empire. You have to build a special administration building (which is available by a medium to late game technology) on a planet and then a button appears which let you determine: "transfer the production of this planet to planet X". So you dont have to manage this planet anymore. its similar to housing and trade goods button, only with production points.

I consider this system not really as a good substitution for micromanagement reduction but its a good idea how to concentrate production points for helping bigger projects like deathstars. I saw it in a MOO4 lets play, but havent tried it out myself atm.

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby Arioch » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:03 pm

Like I said, a "transfer production" activity is one way to do this within the current SiS systems. We would need to work out the balance issues and assign appropriate limitations (such as infrastructure requirements and conversion penalties).

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby enpi » Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:16 am

Arioch wrote:Like I said, a "transfer production" activity is one way to do this within the current SiS systems. We would need to work out the balance issues and assign appropriate limitations (such as infrastructure requirements and conversion penalties).


If you introduce such a transfer system, please make it visible on the strategic map (toggle on/off) so that the player can see on first glance which planet is supporting which planet (maybe with colored transfer lines), otherwise it will IMO contribute rather to confusion especially if the player has to remember all the transfer stuff of hundred planets by himself.

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby bjg » Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:52 am

enpi wrote:MOO4, as imperfect it is now, has an interesting system to transfer wrench points from one planet to another in your empire. You have to build a special administration building (which is available by a medium to late game technology) on a planet and then a button appears which let you determine: "transfer the production of this planet to planet X".

This is one of hated "features". ;)

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby Arioch » Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:14 am

enpi wrote:If you introduce such a transfer system, please make it visible on the strategic map (toggle on/off) so that the player can see on first glance which planet is supporting which planet (maybe with colored transfer lines), otherwise it will IMO contribute rather to confusion especially if the player has to remember all the transfer stuff of hundred planets by himself.

I think it would be limited to planets within a single star system. Being able to divert production from every planet in your empire to a single uber-factory sounds to me like a recipe for disaster on several levels.

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Re: Idea: Merging planetary production

Postby enpi » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:19 am

Arioch wrote:
enpi wrote:If you introduce such a transfer system, please make it visible on the strategic map (toggle on/off) so that the player can see on first glance which planet is supporting which planet (maybe with colored transfer lines), otherwise it will IMO contribute rather to confusion especially if the player has to remember all the transfer stuff of hundred planets by himself.

I think it would be limited to planets within a single star system. Being able to divert production from every planet in your empire to a single uber-factory sounds to me like a recipe for disaster on several levels.



Ah ok, thanks for the clarification. So then forget the lines :).


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