Suggestion: slight tech tree randomization, "Dirty Dozen" techs

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Suggestion: slight tech tree randomization, "Dirty Dozen" techs

Postby akkamaddi » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:34 am


I've made general comments about this long ago, but I thought of something a little more fleshed out.

But first, quick aside: I just noticed on my Steam account today, hours played for Stelaris - 385, hours played for Stars in Shadow - 418. :mrgreen: (Granted, 385 hours in Stelaris is four games. :roll: )

I know that there are already plans for an upcoming patch, but please consider for a future update and idea like this that would add a small amount of randomization to the tech tree on each play through.

Create twelve new techs. We will call these the "Dirty Dozen". The guidelines are

* "Low level", or early to mid-game techs.
* Relatively inexpensive to research.
* Useful but non-critical function. Each gives some advantage, but none are pivotal.
* The techs could be acquired by all races, via conquest or diplomatic gifts. (This would make an update for spying immediately useful.)

Examples would be techs that give markets or farms +1 output, +5% accuracy for direct fire weapons, an energy weapon add-on that cuts power usage by -5%, +2% reactor output, +2 influence, +1 populace happiness, a flat hammer or food production bonus per planet, etc. These are techs that are desirable and nudge the game a bit, but would not swing the results of a game dramatically. Not all techs may be equally useful to all races.

Now, in the game files, the tech entries are marked "RandomizedTech", and then "UseBy={list}". The UseBy list is what races can potentially start with them.

Each race would have eight of the twelve techs as potentially available starting techs.

At galaxy generation, each empire (player and NPC) gets four tech from the eight available for that race randomly selected and unlocked.

The Arda get two unlocked, randomly selected from the eight the player does not have. These will be made available for sale on early Herald visits.

The end result would be the player's tech tree would be a little different on each play through. If the player has a favorite race, there will still be variability. Since the NPC empires also get random techs unlocked, their abilities will have minor changes on each play through. If the player only plays against a few empires on each play through, some techs will be missing each game.

I think the randomization from a limited pool would help each game feel a bit more fresh and different.

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Re: Suggestion: slight tech tree randomization, "Dirty Dozen" techs

Postby Arioch » Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:34 am

The difficulty with adding a lot of new bonus techs, and especially with having each faction start with four of them, is that if they are significant enough to actually alter gameplay, then they will really mess with systems balance. As we are finding with the current economic changes, any significant systems change can take a lot of effort to integrate into the rest of the systems and how the AI handles them. Randomizing such changes makes them more difficult to balance. Right off the top of my head, I can imagine that whichever faction happens to get the four bonuses that are the most useful in the early game may simply steamroll over everyone else; the earlier a bonus is applied, the more it tends to snowball.

There is already quite a lot of impactful randomness for each faction in the starting layout of the galaxy -- to the point where some players complain about it. If we wanted to add more randomness, perhaps it would be better in the form of more beneficial easter eggs to be found or acquired in the course of exploration and development, rather than as random buffs that are simply handed out at the start of the game.

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