Re: Research Switching Mechanics

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sven
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Re: Research Switching Mechanics

Postby sven » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:05 pm

SirDamnALot wrote:For me, best case would be if the unused research points would be stockpiled and not go to narnia :mrgreen:


I believe that's how the system worked originally, but arioch talked me out of it on the grounds of "realism" or something equally foolish :)

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Re: Report - Current Bugs and Issues

Postby Arioch » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:11 pm

sven wrote:
SirDamnALot wrote:For me, best case would be if the unused research points would be stockpiled and not go to narnia :mrgreen:

I believe that's how the system worked originally, but arioch talked me out of it on the grounds of "realism" or something equally foolish :)

If you can stockpile research (or production) without penalty instead of having to choose a target, then that's the optimal way to play, since you can wait and respond to events instead of having to plan. That's worse than unrealistic; it's destructive to normal gameplay.

It would be better if the game either a) reminds the player and requires him to choose something, or b) chooses for the player if he refuses to choose, so that research is not wasted. Developers and testers may wish to ignore research choices, but real players never will.

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Re: Report - Current Bugs and Issues

Postby sven » Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:23 pm

Arioch wrote:
sven wrote:I believe that's how the system worked originally, but arioch talked me out of it on the grounds of "realism" or something equally foolish :)

If you can stockpile research (or production) without penalty instead of having to choose a target, then that's the optimal way to play, since you can wait and respond to events instead of having to plan. That's worse than unrealistic; it's destructive to normal gameplay.


Ah, yes, I now remember a bit more about this old debate. Right now, "beakers" are still a galaxy wide global resource, so you can always swap production from one research project to another at the last moment, and use beakers that originally went towards one project to complete something else. Whether or not that's really correct is something we've certainly discussed in the past. But as long as beakers carry over freely from one project to another, I don't think there's much advantage in being able to go from a "no research" unassigned beaker pool --> whatever the best project at the moment is. From a gameplay perspective, there are still long term strategic choices that you'll need to commit to (because most key techs require investing in a few prereqs), but my feeling is that the flexibility that comes from being able to swap around beakers from one project to another at the last minute is not a terrible thing.

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Re: Report - Current Bugs and Issues

Postby Arioch » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:35 am

sven wrote:
Arioch wrote:
sven wrote:I believe that's how the system worked originally, but arioch talked me out of it on the grounds of "realism" or something equally foolish :)

If you can stockpile research (or production) without penalty instead of having to choose a target, then that's the optimal way to play, since you can wait and respond to events instead of having to plan. That's worse than unrealistic; it's destructive to normal gameplay.


Ah, yes, I now remember a bit more about this old debate. Right now, "beakers" are still a galaxy wide global resource, so you can always swap production from one research project to another at the last moment, and use beakers that originally went towards one project to complete something else. Whether or not that's really correct is something we've certainly discussed in the past. But as long as beakers carry over freely from one project to another, I don't think there's much advantage in being able to go from a "no research" unassigned beaker pool --> whatever the best project at the moment is. From a gameplay perspective, there are still long term strategic choices that you'll need to commit to (because most key techs require investing a few prereqs), but my feeling is that the flexibility that comes from being able to swap around beakers from one project to another at the last minute is not a terrible thing.

I was not aware that research still worked like that. My view is that it is a terrible thing and ripe for abuse. In addition to being implausible (how does the research spent on Mass Drivers suddenly unlock Bionomics?), in gameplay terms it means you don't have to make choices; you can just choose the most expensive available tech and then magically and instantly unlock less-expensive techs whenever you find you need one. It encourages perverse gameplay.

Similar to production, science spent on a technology should be tied to that technology, and not magically transferable to whatever you change your mind to. Strategy games should be about making interesting choices.

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Re: Report - Current Bugs and Issues

Postby sven » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:00 am

Arioch wrote: In addition to being implausible (how does the research spent on Mass Drivers suddenly unlock Bionomics?), in gameplay terms it means you don't have to make choices; you can just choose the most expensive available tech and then magically and instantly unlock less-expensive techs whenever you find you need one. It encourages perverse gameplay.


I'll grant that it is a little perverse. Moo2 allowed beaker swapping, and after playing for a while I got to the point where going for something expensive (like a big +research tech), and then switching suddenly to shields or weapons research if/when I found myself in urgent need of equipment upgrades felt "natural". As perverse incentives go, I don't really think it's *that* bad, most of the time, you play normally, and in a few rare edge situations, you may find yourself with a welcome ability to respond to an unexpected threat.

It's any easy mechanic to change though, and you may yet talk me into it. As much as I get nostalgic for Moo2, there are certainly plenty of ways in which it was imperfect. And I'm willing to concede that beaker swapping might well have been one of them.

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Re: Report - Current Bugs and Issues

Postby mharmless » Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:22 am

Arioch wrote:My view is that it is a terrible thing and ripe for abuse. In addition to being implausible (how does the research spent on Mass Drivers suddenly unlock Bionomics?)


Arioch wrote:Similar to production, science spent on a technology should be tied to that technology, and not magically transferable to whatever you change your mind to. Strategy games should be about making interesting choices.


Bump for agreement. Most recent game I was sniping out some minor techs that were 1 turn each, and letting the overflow build up until I could finish a major tech in 1 turn. The process didn't get me any extra research points, but it did let me snap up a bunch of lower techs I hadn't bothered with without slowing my total-turns to the higher tech, in exchange for deliberately managing that process. It felt very game-y. This is more of a side item regarding research overflow in general.

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Re: Research Switching Mechanics

Postby SirDamnALot » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:01 am

Stockpiling Research does not get you faster results, or does it? You still have the same research costs and you can only discover one tech per turn.
Several techs give you benefits for being around (e.g. trade and bio techs), so you would want to have them early for their bonuses.
And stockpiling for key militry techs that you pull out if a threat arises, seems very dangerous. Having the tech does not help you until you upgrade your fleets. Only instant upgrades are planetary batteries and troops.

Basically, I don't see much benefit of sitting on a pile of unused research. I am increasing my opportunity costs by waiting instead of getting techs that make me money or population or even the big leverage facility upgrade techs.

Or do I don't see the forest for all the trees? :)

If there are edge cases that give you a benefit from waiting and "sniping" techs, let the micro managers have their fun :mrgreen:
In the Civilisation series they can get to insane levels for optimizing everything and thats a valid playstyle too.
(As long it is not mandatory for normal difficulties ;) )

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Re: Research Switching Mechanics

Postby Arioch » Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:04 am

If you can stockpile science or switch research targets without penalty (which are fundamentally the same thing), you aren't researching any faster, but you are doing so without having to make a choice or commit to a plan. You can start research on an expensive infrastructure technology, like Artificial Organisms or Superconductors, that takes 30-40 turns to research, without any risk, because if you run into trouble you can just use your pooled research to "buy" several military techs in rapid succession. Because of prerequisites and the inherent limitation of one tech per turn, there's a limit on how badly this mechanic can be abused... but there's no reason for this mechanic to exist in the first place. The player should have to choose which technology to research. It should be an interesting choice, and perhaps even a difficult one. Pooling science allows the player to ignore this choice, or at least postpone it until he has more information, in a way that's very gamey and completely implausible.

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Re: Research Switching Mechanics

Postby SirDamnALot » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:57 am

Arioch wrote:If you can stockpile science or switch research targets without penalty (which are fundamentally the same thing), you aren't researching any faster, but you are doing so without having to make a choice or commit to a plan. You can start research on an expensive infrastructure technology, like Artificial Organisms or Superconductors, that takes 30-40 turns to research, without any risk, because if you run into trouble you can just use your pooled research to "buy" several military techs in rapid succession. Because of prerequisites and the inherent limitation of one tech per turn, there's a limit on how badly this mechanic can be abused... but there's no reason for this mechanic to exist in the first place. The player should have to choose which technology to research. It should be an interesting choice, and perhaps even a difficult one. Pooling science allows the player to ignore this choice, or at least postpone it until he has more information, in a way that's very gamey and completely implausible.

And it could really save your bacon if suddenly the barbarians are at your doorstep ;)
Switching science or production is not realistic, I agree, but it is very convenient. Like the buyout feature.
If the descisions should be though, thats ok.
But then the system should at least be fair and remember the already gained progress on a research topic when you return to it.
(yeah I know, every research item would need it's own accounting how far it is researched and so on. Even more complicated if research prices are not static)

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Re: Research Switching Mechanics

Postby echo2361 » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:29 pm

I generally prefer systems where I can't switch between techs and carry over my progress, due to reasons already stated by others including realism and a welcomed increased focus on important decision making when picking techs. However, I do think that being able to keep the progress you've made on a current tech when switching to another is important.

I've seen games where you keep most of your progress, but it begins to decay a little each turn. I think this makes sense since the scientists you re-directed will begin to forget where they left things off the longer you wait to finish a tech. This system allows the player to switch techs in an emergency, say because they suddenly realize they need shields instead of better farms, but still allows them to return to researching better farms with little penalty unless they keep putting it off and picking other things.

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Re: Research Switching Mechanics

Postby SilasOfBorg » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:44 pm

Bump for agreement with the "fungible research is a bad mechanic".

* encourages gamey abuse and blunts the pain of making hard guns vs butter choices
* pulls you out of immersion - your scientists aren't hard at work researching mass drivers, they're producing magical beakers which, if you collect enough of them, you can buy a new toy with.

IMHO, any turn spent researching a specific tech should make progress towards that tech only. Any techs with progress but no active research should lose a small percentage each turn - I don't know what a good number would be, but even a small percentage (3-5%?) would be painful enough to make switching a difficult and considered decision.

/my nickel, you have it

edit: if I knew echo2361 had been posting the same damn thing when I was writing this, I could have just posted "what echo2361 said" and saved myself some typing. :lol:

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Re: Research Switching Mechanics

Postby SirDamnALot » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:48 pm

If you go for realism, the question arises why the whole of one society can only research one topic exclusivley. And space Dinosaurs.
So lets not go there, lets stay in gameplay-reasons land ;)

Degrading research is "ok" from a gameplay perspective but sounds like more effort to do than it is worth.
I mean the whole accounting affair has to be programmed, tested and communicated ingame, for rare edge cases where the degradation really matters.
And if you unexpectedly need a new deathblaster 9000 now, then you need it. The rest is only more punishment in a dire situation.

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Re: Research Switching Mechanics

Postby bjg » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:57 pm

If you don't allow to transfer over the RP people will immediately ask for a way to keep the suspended research project (like you do with the construction). Doubt you have time for that now.

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Re: Research Switching Mechanics

Postby Arioch » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:13 pm

Implausibility can become a gameplay issue when it makes gameplay non-intuitive.

bjg wrote:If you don't allow to transfer over the RP people will immediately ask for a way to keep the suspended research project (like you do with the construction). Doubt you have time for that now.

Shouldn't be a problem.

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Re: Research Switching Mechanics

Postby SirDamnALot » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:45 pm

What about the event where you discover a derelict craft and salvage it for research?
I'm thinking about when you have no reserch selected and your beakers go to Narnia :D

I like the suggested solution, that a research task is selected automatically when you forget to do it. So there is no real loss.

My additional 2 cents about research degredation: I don't think it fits here. Everything you do in this game has a strong impact, e.g. do I build a factory or another farm in my very limited slots? The results are significant. It is not about edging out -2% here or +5% there. So a mechanic that slowly eats away your reseach in an edge case would feel for me a bit odd. Not to diss this kind of play, as we say in the Pen & Paper circles, there is no "badwrongfun", but I feel that small effects is not what you are going for.


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