Please Consider Managing Expansion

A forum for chatting about in-development game features.

Moderator: luciderous

DDPD
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:47 pm

Please Consider Managing Expansion

Postby DDPD » Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:52 pm

Great game, but I can't help but feel that the planet rush is a game mechanic of yesteryear. There's VERY LITTLE holding me back from settling EVERYTHING and I think it leads to two of SiS' biggest issues: micromanagement of planets and the snowballing issue.

At any level, colonization of other planets would be a MASSIVE effort. I'm not looking for realism, but the fact that this very real fact is minimalized to the game's detriment is something to seriously consider.

How would I fix it? I don't know. Increase the cost? Add an administration resource. Something. However, I just don't really enjoy the planet rush in any game and this game suffers from it really badly. It likely contributes to how easy this game is, too. (Well, that, and how easy diplomacy is to manipulate)

bjg
Posts: 585
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:55 pm

Re: Please Consider Managing Expansion

Postby bjg » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:25 pm

Colony Ships are expensive and draw population. New colonies are slow to develop, unless you throw colonists and/or money at it (which you don't have in abundance during early game). Also if you concentrate only on expansion than Pirates, Marauders and AI will push you back.

User avatar
TheDeadlyShoe
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:24 pm

Re: Please Consider Managing Expansion

Postby TheDeadlyShoe » Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:23 pm

Try playing on a smaller map to reduce micro issues.

User avatar
Mal
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:50 am
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Please Consider Managing Expansion

Postby Mal » Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:24 pm

DDPD wrote:Great game, but I can't help but feel that the planet rush is a game mechanic of yesteryear.


As 4X games have become more popular, this seems to be a more popular complaint.

Let's assume for a moment that you are correct and rapid exploration and expansion is poor gameplay. Given the other game elements that are common to 4X games, what else would you be doing in the game instead of expanding? In other words, if the design holds you back as you wish, what would you do instead that you consider more fun?
Nicht kleckern, sondern klotzen!

*Please remember all posts are made by a malevolent, autocratic despot whose rule is marked by unjust severity and arbitrary behavior. Your experiences may vary.

User avatar
Arioch
Posts: 936
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:56 am
Location: San Jose, California
Contact:

Re: Please Consider Managing Expansion

Postby Arioch » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:28 am

DDPD wrote:Great game, but I can't help but feel that the planet rush is a game mechanic of yesteryear. There's VERY LITTLE holding me back from settling EVERYTHING and I think it leads to two of SiS' biggest issues: micromanagement of planets and the snowballing issue.

I agree on one level, which is that feeling like there is a need to colonize every single rock can sometimes be tedious. The issue with preventing this feeling is that it's almost purely psychological; in SIS, small marginal planets with 2 or 3 population really don't add that significantly to your empire's power, and can for the most part be safely ignored. They're really only useful as dedicated mining or research colonies, which don't require any micromanagement at all, once set up.

That said, I think there are things that can be done to reduce this feeling of needing to colonize every planet. One source of this pressure that comes immediately to mind is that if you don't colonize every planet, the AI factions will; therefore the player feels the need to stake his claim to every planet to prevent his rivals from doing so. I think there's a lot that can be done with AI changes alone to ameliorate this, but some rule changes (regarding system ownership) can help as well.

On a different level, which is the TALL vs. WIDE debate, I'm not sure that the "eXpand" element of 4X gameplay can so easily be ignored or omitted. Game mechanics which force the player to choose between expansion and development to the exclusion of one or the other (such as the Happiness mechanic in Civilization V) suffer, in my opinion, from problems both with plausibility and gameplay consequences. Three planets are logically three times as good as one, and imposing mechanics that artificially limit development on each world according to the total size of the empire strains credulity; why would development and population on Mars be limited by the fact that additional colonies elsewhere have been established? Why would population on Mars suddenly become unhappy when new colonies are created on the other side of the galaxy? There is no logical strategy for improving a single planet that can't also be applied to every other planet.

Gameplay wise, I have not seen any effective ways of making tall/turtling play competitive against wide/expansionist gameplay without essentially destroying the latter, and making the former the single best way to play. Civilization V suffered from this with the "build 3 cities and stop" becoming optimal gameplay. This might be okay thematically with a setting like Civilization, but I think that a space conquest game that discourages the player from expanding is unacceptable.

User avatar
TheDeadlyShoe
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:24 pm

Re: Please Consider Managing Expansion

Postby TheDeadlyShoe » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:50 pm

well, one element of most 4x games (including sis) that forces expansion is the technological virtuous circle. Scientific progress increases your efficiency; higher efficiency increases your science production and increases your ability to expand; thus a larger empire will find it easier to produce more ships, better ships, it will produce more science per planet than a smaller empire, and so on and so forth. Quite ironically, larger empires punch above their weight. This can produce some weird results, depending on the game; expansion-oriented races can end up being better at technology than research oriented races, and vice versa - research oriented races snowball efficiency enough to expand better than expansion races.

Delinking science from empire size helps to limit this effect. Distant Worlds uses a curve for science input that drastically limits how much impact empire size has on science progress beyond a certain point - percentage bonuses, such as from racial bonuses, special events, unique planets and anomalies have a bigger impact; Stellaris has a mechanic where increased empire size increases the cost of technologies.

User avatar
Arioch
Posts: 936
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:56 am
Location: San Jose, California
Contact:

Re: Please Consider Managing Expansion

Postby Arioch » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:27 pm

TheDeadlyShoe wrote:well, one element of most 4x games (including sis) that forces expansion is the technological virtuous circle. Scientific progress increases your efficiency; higher efficiency increases your science production and increases your ability to expand; thus a larger empire will find it easier to produce more ships, better ships, it will produce more science per planet than a smaller empire, and so on and so forth. Quite ironically, larger empires punch above their weight. This can produce some weird results, depending on the game; expansion-oriented races can end up being better at technology than research oriented races, and vice versa - research oriented races snowball efficiency enough to expand better than expansion races.

Delinking science from empire size helps to limit this effect. Distant Worlds uses a curve for science input that drastically limits how much impact empire size has on science progress beyond a certain point - percentage bonuses, such as from racial bonuses, special events, unique planets and anomalies have a bigger impact; Stellaris has a mechanic where increased empire size increases the cost of technologies.

There an argument to be made that science should suffer from diminishing returns with empire size, but I don't think it can really be "decoupled" from empire size; two universities may not be twice as good as one university, but two are certainly better than one. Just because you're Orthin doesn't mean you can turtle without being eventually overwhelmed, any more than Sweden during the cold war could expect to out-tech the Soviet Union. And in gameplay terms, it's important not to directly punish the player for success. The issue of snowballing is better dealt with, in my opinion, by scaling late-game threats (having lesser factions cooperate, introducing more dangerous third-party operators, etc.).

In SIS, most science comes from infrastructure rather than directly from population, so science output is mostly about how much you invest in it. I think this is logical and appropriate. A large Yoral empire that doesn't build Labs will usually not out-tech a smaller Orthin empire that has invested heavily in Labs.

The outlier that I can think of is that it's pretty easy for large empires to create dedicated research colonies on small and otherwise useless worlds, which can collectively generate a lot of science. This is something which we might want to look at in terms of diminishing returns.

zolobolo
Posts: 439
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Please Consider Managing Expansion

Postby zolobolo » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:14 pm

Arioch wrote:In SIS, most science comes from infrastructure rather than directly from population, so science output is mostly about how much you invest in it. I think this is logical and appropriate. A large Yoral empire that doesn't build Labs will usually not out-tech a smaller Orthin empire that has invested heavily in Labs.
The outlier that I can think of is that it's pretty easy for large empires to create dedicated research colonies on small and otherwise useless worlds, which can collectively generate a lot of science. This is something which we might want to look at in terms of diminishing returns.

Agree, Stellaris has tried binging research cost to pop size and number of colonies but it just feels wrong. As a plyer you can invest heavily in research but if you are "succesfull" in conquering other states, you get punished by slow research in the end. This just felt wrong and took out the fun from research

I think SiS has a better way to go: Have numbers matter more then quality of individual ships. I think that the pre-conditions are already met - just a few OP weapons and tech need some nerfing and enable the AI to build large fleets

regarding scaling 3rd parties and end-game crisis: YES, bring in some of those as well. The more, the merrier:)


Return to “Testing”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests