Long, rambling post (sorry)

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akkamaddi
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:11 am

Long, rambling post (sorry)

Postby akkamaddi » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:19 am

Hello!

So, I’m loving the game. It really does scratch that Master of Orion itch. :-)

I have a bit of a, well, torrent of assorted thoughts. Sorry for the long post.

[1] I really want the DLC pack “Legacies”. More, please.

[2] High-end research project to add terraforming to Paradise and Coral worlds would be greatly appreciated. I know “Legacies” will have more planet types, so I know terraforming may get a bit of work done soon. Along those lines, really advanced research granting the ability to do something with those tiny airless iceballs would also be nice. (When playing MOO2, I would leave one enemy with one system so I could fill the galaxy with paradise worlds.) (And, yes, I know technically you “can” do this, as I have a game with Pell on three worlds, but I mean legit.)

[2a – For those of us who like Tarib mining worlds, perhaps a “Set the World Ablaze” project to create an Inferno world? Or “Watch the World Burn”?]

[3] First of two minor issues. Sometimes when advancing through the events of the turn, the planet on the top half and the event on the bottom half, will go out of sync. The planet display in the lower right will always align with the event. Usually this happens when one of the events is a colonist assimilation notice, but occasionally the interface does not fully transition to the correct world. This is nowhere near a serious issue, but it’s annoying when it happens, as the planet in the bottom right is an easy way to bring up the planet’s status, but you get bounced elsewhere.

[4] Second, and this may be a bit of ignorance on my part, but the combat interface sometimes seems a tad bit erratic. Sometimes when you click on a ship, Move is enabled. Sometimes, it is not. Rarely, the ship you were on previously tries to move to the ship you click on, which moves one of your ships randomly and throws your battle formation. This can be a bit frustrating, and I’m wondering if the issue is just something I’m missing.

[5] On ships, I think it would be a huge improvement to switch from each side having one battle formation line to two lines. Ship models would have a toggle in the design window “Ship Position [Fore|Rear]”, which can be changed individually in the ship description later. (The toggle in the build window sets the default on build.) Colony ships and all transport category ships would default to Rear, the rest Fore, but the default could be switched as ships are built, and again it can be changed per ship. When you enter combat, the computer creates TWO battle lines per side. Ships flagged Rear go to the rear line, back from combat.

Something that is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, and I must say this game copies it masterfully from Master or Orion, is the habit of the troop transport ships taking point and protecting combat vessels from all those nasty missiles and fighters. (I think in this game it’s because of speed, with faster ships in front.) My programming is very limited, but I really think the Fore and Rear lines setup would completely alleviate this issue without being too difficult to implement. It would also help keep colony ships out of combat. If implemented, for for backwards compatibility, just have a lack of an entry convert to “Rear” for transports, troop transports, and colony ships, and “Fore” for others, which then gets added to the save file.

[6] Yay, modding! I have to preface this with saying that my only “real” programming is some really basic Java to do some simple modding with Minecraft. I’ve also done some scripting at work, so it’s not something completely alien to me. I got involved on the Master of Orion 3 forum a bit late, but I actually created some content that was to be absorbed into the last player mod pack, before Atari shut down the forum. I did a few weapons and a lot of techs, planet specials and random events, and I had several leaders. I think some of that would fit well into a player mod pack.

I would say about modding, and again pointing out that I’m coming only from Minecraft and MoO3, Minecraft’s model where Forge has hooks into all the major tables was actually a very good idea. With MoO3, if I wanted to add a tech, I had to edit a few text files that were the core of the game and merge data with whatever else was originally there and whatever else I added. MoO3 had one table for tech, one table for events, one table for planet specials, and everything had to be added to the core files. With Minecraft and Forge, if I wanted to make the seeds or ingots of my mod’s stuff appear in chests, I would call the chest generator hook and then add the lines for my mod’s stuff. When my mod was loaded at the game start, my lines were merged into chest loot generation, and the core files were not touched. The strong advantage of this model is that an entire mod is contained in a single compressed file, which creates its own file structure under the mods folder without messing with core files (like MoO3).

The point of that long ramblyness is that I really hope the modding framework that will be possible for SiS would be the discrete individual package files, and not hacking core files. I would like to be able to do as much as possible with the Lua scripts and not have to learn C++.

My personal motivation for this is not only thinking that a lot of my old random events and planetary specials would carry over well, but I have an idea for two minor races. I don’t know if that would be possible to add.

[7] More diverse planetary specials would be nice. In MoO3, that could really change your outlook on a planet. Also, see point 9.

[8] Yes, random events really need an overhaul. The “your planet broke” earthquake is a bit annoying. It would be nice if events could be planetary, system, or Empire as well. Also, see point 9.

[9] OK, I promise I’ll stop here.
The Slave Collars research shows that the game allows for conditionally triggered research projects that are single-projects off the research tree. I think this is something that could really be exploited, especially if it could be slightly randomized, to make game sessions unique. Different planetary specials and random events could be “fixed” by prioritizing a (relatively inexpensive) newly available research tech tied to that event, which looks cool in the game but has the mechanics function of removing the event or planet special. The events could eventually time out, or perhaps not, so the research may be a faster cure or the only cure.

For example, here are a few with the {Kind} of research-fixed event and the randomly generated flavor text in [brackets]. Create a list of four text entries for each text string, and you can get dozens of unique descriptions.

{Planet Special} Hostile Microbial Life
Flavor text: “Planet Deneb I harbors a native [mold] that [consumes plastic], making it a threat to colonists, property, and industry. If colonized, a way to eradicate the [mold] will have to be researched.”
Upon colonizing Deneb I, or conquering Deneb I before the issue is fixed, the player is notified of a new research tech, which costs, say 100-300 RP + 50 RP per size category of the planet. Until researched, the Hostile Microbial Life special is in effect, all build costs on Deneb I are increased +25% and population growth is -25%.
Tech “Eradicate Deneb I [Mold].”
“This will research a safe way for colonists to eradicate the [mold] on Deneb I that [consumes plastic]. It will be implemented immediately on completion.”
When “Eradicate Deneb I Mold” is researched, the Hostile Microbial Life planetary special is removed from Deneb I the following round.

{Planet Level Event} Disease Outbreak.
Flavor text: “There has been an outbreak of [Dirty Human][Flu] on Deneb I. This is highly contagious, and medical facilities are over-stressed. The planet is under quarantine, and the population cannot be transported off world”
This bad event has placed Deneb I under quarantine. Colonists can be moved in, but cannot be moved off world. Population growth is down -25%, and all productivity (mining, industry, research, and farming) is reduced -25%. This continues until the Cure research is complete. The research costs 100 – 200 RP, +100RP per population unit.
Tech “Cure Deneb I [Dirty Human][Flu].”
“This will research a treatment and cure for colonists suffering from [Dirty Human][Flu] on Deneb I. It will be implemented immediately on completion, returning productivity to the populace and lifting the quarantine.”
When “Cure Deneb I Dirty Human Flu” is researched, the Disease Outbreak planetary level event is lifted. The event will otherwise expire in 12-18 cycles.

{System Level Event} Solar Hyperflares
Flavor text: “The star of the Deneb system has begun a totally unexpected period of intense solar flares, causing completely unexpected [Woo Woo] [radiation]. The erratic flares and [radiation] are an impediment to all high tech equipment. Industry and research productivity will drop significantly until we can research and build an anti-[Woo Woo] Solar Rectifier, and all incoming ships will suffer navigational failures.”
This bad system events decreases industry and research productivity for all colonies in the system by -25%, and all incoming ships are delayed one cycle (like a weak Warp Inhibitor). This continues until the Rectifier is researched, which costs 200 – 400 RP + 100 RP per colony in the system.
Tech “Anti-[Woo Woo] Solar Rectifier for Deneb”
“This will allow the empire to build and implement an anti-[Woo Woo] [Radiation] Solar Rectifier in Deneb, which will stabilize the star’s erratic core and extend the star’s life. This will also stop the problems caused by [Woo Woo] [Radiation] in the Deneb system.”
When “Anti-Woo Woo Solar Rectifier for Deneb” is researched, the Solar Hyperflares event is ended. The Solar Hyperflares event does not expire.

{Empire Level Event} Hyper Internet is Down
Flavor text: “Our empire keeps loosing connection to the Hyper Internet! This is horrible. We have switched back to the old Regular Internet on our old carrier, but it is slow and not as stable. This is affecting industry and trade empire wide, is a significant hit to institutions of learning, and the population is quite upset for… reasons. Fix it. Fix it now!”
This bad empire level event decreases industry empire wide by 10%, decreases market profits empire wide by 10%, and research structures drop productivity by -25%. Further, the population has -2 happiness until this is fixed. This event will otherwise expire in 30 – 50 cycles.
Tech “Reboot Router”
“You have learned to reboot your empire’s router. The fast internet has returned! May the Grandeur of the Cosmos be praised!”
When “Reboot Router” is researched, the dark times of bad internet, and all the sorrow it brings, passes.

So, I think these events show that targeted micro-research could add the game. It would not be particularly expensive, but could occasionally “free” and important colony or system from a bad event. With a bit of randomness, a few frameworks with a gently used random number generator and a bag of words could create different-appearing events across multiple games. One time it may be an easy fix, another a real nuisance.


Anyway, I will stop there. As I said, I’m loving the game, and really look forward to its future!

bjg
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Re: Long, rambling post (sorry)

Postby bjg » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:15 pm

Phidi can terraform to Corals.
I believe some other race making Paradises was mentioned, but it's not in the game (yet?).

akkamaddi
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:11 am

Re: Long, rambling post (sorry)

Postby akkamaddi » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:43 am

OK, sorry to self bump, I know that is a bit lacking in class. :oops:

There was one more thing. An option that I think many games like this miss, but I think fits in very well with a rich back story, is fount-only techs.

Make about 8 or 12 techs that are invisible. I know there was a dev post about invisible techs causing issues, so I'm not sure how well this may work. The techs could either be on the tree or independent. They are not automatically super-techs, but would fit 25%-75% up the tech tree, and would be better versions of existing techs, or even something new.

It may be that all races get one hidden tech available that is randomly selected in each game, and the selection may be limited by race. Otherwise, the hidden techs are only found by planetary specials or a very rare drifting hulk, conquest of a race that has it, or commandeering an ancient ship that has it. The hidden techs would appear randomly, with no guarantee that any given game would even have one. The tech description could also come with a random bit of lore, unexpectedly filling in odd bits of history.

some quick examples:

Ziff Ceramic Armor: Comparable to Adamantium, with +10% structure points and -5% production cost.
"Notes in the production information found about this indicate the Ziff Composite Ceramic was used by a faction of religious fundamentalist humans who sought to separate from the core empire and form an isolationist enclave. There are brief notes a race called the "Gramach" (Gremak?) saw the expansion as a threat."

Demistatic Harmonic Shielding: Comparable to Battle Shields, double production cost, half energy consumption, shield regeneration rates doubled (including Shield Regenerator)
"Much of the math in the materials from which this tech was rediscovered are in a base 12 number system. The only race known to use base 12 math is the Orthin. Could the Orthin have begun to emerge as a galactic civilization once before, but have no surviving records of this?"

Multi-Disciplinary Data Mining AI:
"An advanced AI at each research facility mines data of other disciplines looking for unrelated scientific links, resulting in numerous, if minor, unexpected discoveries. Research output of all science improvements increases by +2, independent of staffing levels.
"The original AI structure is distinctly Ashdar Haduir, though alterations have been made for our facilities. What our researchers noted is the original AI structure is designed to deal with centuries of time in individual functions, and can accommodate a timeline of over nine centuries. It is possible the Ashdar society before the Great War could be centuries older than currently thought."

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sven
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Re: Long, rambling post (sorry)

Postby sven » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:53 am

akkamaddi wrote:OK, sorry to self bump, I know that is a bit lacking in class. :oops:


You need have no shame :) I've been reading these posts with great interest -- some of the ideas here are very similar to things we are already planning on doing, others get me thinking of things I think we should perhaps *start* planning on doing. Just been a little pressed for time of late, so I haven't gotten around to writing a substantive reply. But by all means, don't let any sense of embarrassment stop you from writing. I'm following this thread with interest ;)

akkamaddi
Posts: 107
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Re: Long, rambling post (sorry)

Postby akkamaddi » Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:09 am

Thank you. :D

I enjoyed tinkering with MoO3, and this game really brought back those memories.

On the recover-only techs, a tone about this game I really like, and which I think MoO3 really hit, was that the universe is not a vast, pristine unknown. I really like the lore that the stars are heavy with the graves of the dead, and greater races fell tearing worlds apart. The most feared monsters are the detritus of our own ancestors. :shock: I also love the Haduir line about other races seeing only a throne that sits on cold graves. Bravo on that. Races look not only to the future but also the past, giving a large sense of scope not only in space but also in time.

And speaking of tinkering, BJG was right:

bjg wrote:Phidi can terraform to Corals.
I believe some other race making Paradises was mentioned, but it's not in the game (yet?).


The tech Coral Blooms is locked to Phidi, allowing Coral world terraforming. Also, the tech Atmospheric Condensation is locked to the Orthin, allowing terraforming of Inferno worlds. Poor Tarib.

There are also the techs Sentient Ecosystems' (allows terraforming to Paradise) and Artificial Suns (allows better terraforming of ice worlds), but these are locked. I don't know enough about the file structure to know if the actual mechanics for these is implemented. I can try it later, but I don't know if there is an actual/working tech implementation associated with the research.

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sven
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Re: Long, rambling post (sorry)

Postby sven » Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:47 am

akkamaddi wrote:There are also the techs Sentient Ecosystems' (allows terraforming to Paradise) and Artificial Suns (allows better terraforming of ice worlds), but these are locked. I don't know enough about the file structure to know if the actual mechanics for these is implemented. I can try it later, but I don't know if there is an actual/working tech implementation associated with the research.


Yes, the terraforming code has some dead-ends in it, but, I believe these should both work. You can try yourself by editing any script file while the game is running, and sticking in a top-level call like:

Code: Select all

  order.grant_tech(gui_player(),'Sentient Ecosystems')


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