Management of many planets

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enpi
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Management of many planets

Postby enpi » Sun Mar 01, 2015 4:32 pm

While I have usually no problem with managing hundreds or more planets, I know there are players which dont like it. Maybe a solution to avoid excessive micromanaging could be to allow the game engine to group several star systems (which dont have to be directly adjacent but anywhere in the players empire) into "provinces" and then give the whole province one general production order. (eg province Alpha consists of 5 mineral rich systems with an output of more than 400 production points per turn. So this province will produce battleships. Or province Beta consisting of 8 systems which have in common that they are located in one of the players outer rim territories near dangerous enemy space is producing heavy troops etc.)

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luciderous
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Re: Management of many planets

Postby luciderous » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:13 pm

More abstract management layers would definitely ease micromanagement woes, but it is nevertheless a solution to the wrong problem. There is nothing wrong with micromanagement per se, if you have limited amount of planets/ships/decisions to spend your attention on. The issue arises only if this amount is increasing exponentially throughout the game. But does every 4X game have to go down this path? I think no, quite the contrary. The more things you get to tackle at one particular moment, the less valuable these things become in the long run. Planets dwindle to simple production numbers, ship designs become irrelevant in mass production, decisions boil down to simply choosing where to direct your armadas next. You begin playing spreadsheets and that's boring. That's the fate of all 4X games that abstract away too much. Master of Orion 3 anyone? ;)

My suggestion instead would be to cap or otherwise limit the amount of planets/ships/etc. you can control. There are lots of ways to do it efficiently and in a logical and interesting manner. Technological incapacity, racial adaptation, penalties, taxes etc. Thirty star systems for a huge map is more than enough. One habitable planet per 3 systems is great - this way the competition for colonization is fierce, and each planet is precious for your empire. And so on and so forth.

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Arioch
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Re: Management of many planets

Postby Arioch » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:10 pm

Late-game bloat is a significant concern, and that's one of the reasons why we will try to keep the strategic level economic game as streamlined as possible. Production queues and planetary governors should help with management of larger empires. However, players can select their own map size to cap the number of star systems at a level that they find comfortable. Some people actually do like managing hundreds of colonies, and so if they want to play on a map with 200 stars, I don't think we should prevent them.

Another idea is to have a game option toggle to curtail the availability of environmental techs that enable the colonization of barren and inferno worlds, to help reduce colony spam in the late game (if the player so desires). This would be the analog of the "prevent city founding" option in Age of Wonders III, which, in that game at least, helps to keep things more interesting and manageable on large maps.

The numbers of ships can be constrained by assigning maintenance costs and/or resource requirements, which feels less artificial to me than hard caps or infrastructure caps (such as was done in MOO2 -- you had to build more space stations to support more ships). Ships in SIS are managed as fleets rather than as individual units, so larger numbers of ships only present a problem in tactical battles and in managing ship upgrades. We plan to allow ship grouping in tactical combat and "auto-resolve" features to help manage the former, and some kind of "upgrade to class" feature would help with the latter.

Another way to prevent late-game bloat is with victory conditions. If you get the point in a game where you own half of the systems on the map, then either: a) you have already effectively won the game and are just mopping up, or b) you're fighting one AI player who has the other half of the map, and having a tense (and hopefully fun) clash of the titans. The latter situation is what the late game techs and monster units are for. In the former situation, there should be a victory condition that allows you to win the game without having to conquer every single planet, if that's what you desire. I liked MOO2's solution to this: a Galactic Council that allows any player with a clear population majority (or enough close allies to give him such a majority) to be able to vote himself the winner. The AI players will always accept this vote, but the player doesn't have to if he finds himself on the wrong side of it, and thinks he can still win against all of the other players (which will declare war on him if they haven't already).

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enpi
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Re: Management of many planets

Postby enpi » Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:53 am

luciderous wrote:
My suggestion instead would be to cap or otherwise limit the amount of planets/ships/etc. you can control. There are lots of ways to do it efficiently and in a logical and interesting manner.


IMO thats a very bad idea because it is penalizing those of us who like to administrate many planets and ships. ;)


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