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Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:54 am
by zolobolo
Didn't see yet the relationship penalty when not voting for an ally which is more powerfull (hinted in change log) - though this migth be intended as long as this does not "cost" the ally its victory maning that the AI ignores such transgression as long as the player votes are not enough for victory to be achieved

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:25 pm
by zolobolo
Arioch wrote:We are debating whether or not to make the graphs a normal UI option during the course of the game. The concern is that it might be too much information while the game is still going on.

What do you think?

It's a difficult question

On the surface no amount of information can be too much in a 4X type of game, the issue is with presentation:
A huge benefit of SiS compared to its competitors is its approach of hiding complexity and presenting it via a user friendly UI (think of the habitability mechanic). A large load of statistics goes against this concept as it convolutes the UI.

In BI terminology I would compare the UI of SiS to a dashboard and the UI of something like Stellaris to a standard report. The two don't mix well and a decision constantly needs to be made for one or the other or the advantages of both are lost. Following the dashboard approach one would ask for what purpose the user would be looking at the graphs and distil a KPI for that purpose within the existing UI withouth creating a dedicated menu point for it. A common practice is to hide links to standard reports within the lower levels of the dashboard construct (e.g.: the report does not have its own icon in the galaxy map but a small hyperlink within the diplomacy menu)

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:21 pm
by nathanebht
zolobolo wrote:
nathanebht wrote:New end game graphs look good. Just finished a game I had in progress.

What have you done to produce that high increase of military power in one turn?
Did you rush a lot of ship constructions or bought merc ships?


Hmm, not really sure. These is no turn # indicated on the graph. This game was a struggle for a long time notice how the yellow line is below most everybody else for a long time.

Maybe when I took out an Arda fleet which gave me 6k+ research. This completed a few research projects.

Might have been the range extension on the Gremak missile? This applied too all my ships without needing an upgrade.

Simultaneous build of 3 battleships for the first time with the latest tech?

Oh I know, the Tinkers merged with my empire and gave me approx 30 ships. Must be it. Green line stops at that point. The Tinker empire was collapsed and a total mess.

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:51 pm
by zolobolo
nathanebht wrote:Oh I know, the Tinkers merged with my empire and gave me approx 30 ships. Must be it. Green line stops at that point. The Tinker empire was collapsed and a total mess.

Yes: it seems they have a roughtly equal level of fleet power on their side and then cease to exist

It is not clear though what exactly fleet power represents: my guess at this point is that it represents the number of ships mostly because of the icon used :)

In graphs such as this it is usually recommended to display the type of unit being used as well as to mark signifficant values on the X and Y axis (even if the value is not displayed next to the mark - which is actually also recommended)
e.g.: every 100 Turns on X, and every 10 units (or whatever else is used to measure fleet power) on Y

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:25 pm
by sven
zolobolo wrote:It is not clear though what exactly fleet power represents: my guess at this point is that it represents the number of ships mostly because of the icon used :)


While it's currently called "Military Strength", a more correct title would actually be "Military Tonnage". The metric is just the sum of the metal costs of all the armed ships in an empire. (There are smarter metrics of military power available inside the AI code, but I'm intentionally not pulling in that sort of deeper analysis when generating these graphs.)

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:10 pm
by SgtArmyGuy
Arioch wrote:We are debating whether or not to make the graphs a normal UI option during the course of the game. The concern is that it might be too much information while the game is still going on.

What do you think?


When I saw the question, I immediately had to emergency-register for a forum account to deliver you the answer of definitely YES! Earlier on, I especially requested for graphs on the Steam forums (I'll copy-paste it below). The tl;dr version is this: seeing the numbers game helps players to refine their strategies by allowing them to find out exactly WHY and WHEN they are losing or winning. Without access to the math, you're basically playing an optimization game blindfolded. The graphs alone can help new players to pinpoint what they are doing wrong and old players to develop better strategies. Currently the game is making me do all my decisions by "gut feeling" instead of giving me access to the relevant information. Imagine a space empire run without a single mathematician or economics graduate - that's the current state of SiS for you.

You can put the graphs under the diplomacy screen, they shouldn't bother anybody there too much? They are there to help you evaluate who to ally with and who to compete with - diplomacy is all about the numbers game, so it's a logical place for the graphs.

Please, PLEASE add the graphs! "Too much information" isn't the current issue, it's "too little information". You can't make decisions without access to information. The lack of relevant info is taking away from player involvement (e.g. you might as well flip a coin for a decision if you have no way of evaluating the consequences) and hindering players from getting "better" in the game (as they can't identify what they are doing wrong). The graphs would also make balance-testing much easier as you can see macro-level changes in economies, faction strenght etc. at a glimpse.

Thank you! If you finally do manage to get the patch out, I've considered delivering a new review of it to one of our game magazines - there seem to be such major changes being applied that the game is much different from what it was a year ago. Looking forward to it!

The original Steam post follows:

1) GRAPHS
"Do you keep losing all your games without really understanding why? Do your neighbouring empires seem ridiculously OP, although Arioch keeps telling you everything is fine? If that is the case, Interstellar Space Economics can solve all your problems! Order our handy graphs today, and never again will your empire fail without you understanding exactly what you are doing wrong!"

We need basic in-game graphs of the super-important Numbers Game, i.e. wealth, production, science, population, fleet size, number of systems/planets owned... and you already have all these numbers in the game, it just isn't represented anywhere in a meaningful form. The diplomatic screen has some of the info, but it is missing the most important factors of GROWTH and the ability to COMPARE these to your empire/others. So we need GRAPHS! These will help you choose the right strategy and hopefully teach you what you did wrong at the stage when everybody drove past you in the numbers game.

At least I'm struggling with the current game balance on normal/hard, as normal makes it too easy to keep above the production curve while hard makes it too difficult (but not consistently, which is why I would like to see the numbers to analyze what is going on). Science on normal on the other hand seems balanced, while on hard I keep getting really, really far behind at mid/late-game stages. Same goes for population. I'm done complaining about game balance - the problem is most likely the lack of feedback from the game itself, as this leads to the continued appliance of unoptimal strategies. It's hard to make enlightened choices if you're blindfolded. So please give us the numbers in a readable form on the diplomatic screen!

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:34 pm
by zolobolo
SgtArmyGuy wrote:Please, PLEASE add the graphs! "Too much information" isn't the current issue, it's "too little information". You can't make decisions without access to information. The lack of relevant info is taking away from player involvement (e.g. you might as well flip a coin for a decision if you have no way of evaluating the consequences) and hindering players from getting "better" in the game (as they can't identify what they are doing wrong). The graphs would also make balance-testing much easier as you can see macro-level changes in economies, faction strenght etc. at a glimpse.

I can see where you are coming from and some people really enjoy graphs

The issue in my opinion is with visualisation method of the information which is not very efficient nor does it fit into the GUI: most of the relevant information is already available in the diplo screen but these are presented in a manner of key performance indicators merged together with the GUI itself taking over its style (at the price of simplicity). I have also been quilty having suggested a couple of times to extend these to contain all key metrics. A good example is to compare this to driving a car: the console around the driver is made in a way to display the most relevant information. Too much information degrades the value of each data and distracts from the overall goal of driving (or playing space battles). It is just insanely difficult to put so much data into such a GUI and not feel it is out of place.

There are of course some nice attempts at this like creating a crosstable with the attributes being the categories and each faction sorted below them in ranking order: this generally answers most of the questions we have when looking at these things (who has the most coin, is X stronger then Y?) but leaves out the historical aspect. There are also highly-efficient standards like IBCS diagrams but these are not intuitive.

To put is simply: one of the strongest allure of the game is hiding complexity behind intuitive GUI and the question is how much of the grey reality should be shown from behind the curtain before this aspect suffers

But I agree: if it needs to be there, it is best placed into the diplo menu via a separate button so those who do not wish to dive into it can safely ignore it

I also feel your pain of not knowing why the AI is OP: that is why I only play games on normal difficulty: the most organic way to familiarise yourself quickly with your environment is if the AI is playing the same game

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:53 pm
by Arioch
SgtArmyGuy wrote:You can put the graphs under the diplomacy screen, they shouldn't bother anybody there too much? They are there to help you evaluate who to ally with and who to compete with - diplomacy is all about the numbers game, so it's a logical place for the graphs.

That's where it currently is.

ss_stats_population.jpg
ss_stats_population.jpg (453.75 KiB) Viewed 4757 times

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:47 am
by Dragar
Nice work on the new patch release! Looking forward to trying out the stable build.

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:41 pm
by zolobolo
AI has stopped offering goodies for peace even when loosing considerably - It seems to me that this has occured since a tweak in hte peace offering mechanic

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:17 am
by nathanebht
This last 01/17/19 update seems quite nice. The AI doesn't spam messages to you. Overall they seem more reasonable.

The AI has objected to me colonizing a planet a few times. Occurred with different races. Seemed quite reasonable for it to come up when it did.

The AI also twice objected to me having one ship in a system of theirs. This didn't make sense. Both times they were small scout ships. One of the times it was just a scout in an outpost system of theirs.

The AI humans in this game are kicking butt for some reason. Usually in the past they did poorly and didn't expand much. Nice to see. So far they have taken out one race and also almost wiped out the Yoral.

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:02 pm
by Danath
Got something weird in my game: 2 factions with "very angry" relations form an alliance and ultimately one annexed the other. Hate each other so much that got married?
Also, way to turn all my diplomatic points into dust, invested in agreements with the now non-existing faction :evil:

On other topic, the increase in diplomatic price for Mercenaries is crazy. With the AI being a lot more complaining, is already way harder to gather points. Steam achievements hunters, despair for the 6 trade agreements in one game!

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:19 pm
by sven
Danath wrote:Got something weird in my game: 2 factions with "very angry" relations form an alliance and ultimately one annexed the other. Hate each other so much that got married?


That feels like it could be a bug. If you still have this save file, could you upload the game?

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:50 pm
by Danath
sven wrote: could you upload the game?

Game 7694

Looking at Humans, they are very angry with Yorals. Yorals say they have polite relations with Humans. In less than 10 turns Yoral annexed Humans (I guess they asked politely :roll: )

Re: Testing the Current Diplomacy Changes

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:58 am
by wminsing
Just ran into what looks to be a minor bug. If you run into a situation where you have multiple competing colonization attempts and you get the hail asking you to not colonize the system, you can just colonize the planet you want first and then answer the hails and promise to NOT colonize the system, and you still get the relations boost.

-Will