2018-05-04 Helmet HUD

Details about updates to Shores of Hazeron

Re: 2018-05-04 Helmet HUD

Postby Vectorus » Sat May 05, 2018 9:29 am

Haxus wrote:If this change does not eliminate the problem, I am resigned to imposing a limit on the number of buildings on each world. These are my proposed limits.

Haxus, I am not against this, but I question the precise proposed limits.

As I understand it, the situation is: a certain number of buildings can be supported by each world without significant lag. This number is more important than the number of buildings per system or per sector. It is not fundamentally dependent on world size.

If this is the case, I strongly suggest we impose the maximum safe limit on all worlds equally, without accounting for world size. If this limit is currently 500, then let it be 500 - if it goes up or down in future owing to load or optimizations, let it go up or down for all alike. A ringworld (which is vast) will feel mostly like untouched wilderness, even with 500 max sized buildings and no overlap. That's fine; no way around it, and they're meant to be big anyway. But if you decrease the number with each descending planet size every single world will end up feeling as it does now: virgin forest or endless desert with a tiny oasis of human habitation at a random spot. That's ok for the occasional moonbase or testing facility, but not for homeworlds and economic hubs. A small planet or a moon with 500 buildings has a real chance, already, to feel like a rich and ancient home of civilization with several major cities and smaller settlements. No more effort from you required. If you want these cities to be an interesting backdrop for individual sci-fi stories in future, this is a very Good Thing. And, as I understand it, there is no real performance reason not to, so long as they stay under 500 (or whatever optimization makes that number in the future).

Second, a drastic limit on the buildings a moon or small planet can have is detrimental to variety and aesthetic effort, which are presumably the whole point of the new designer! Valuable resources often occur on such worlds. Players will inevitably plonk down max size, kilometre high cubes for efficiency. They will have used on building for a capitol, one for airport and broker, perhaps a few for vehicles. They may need several police stations, since only a few 500x500 buildings can fit within its jurisdiction. Then some military buildings. That's already more than a quarter of the space gone. You can guarantee the rest will be doomboxes; probably all overlapping in one giant tower to save on the required police stations! Is that really why we've spent so long on a whole new building system?

With 500 buildings, a moonbase could be richly detailed, with lots of different domes, observation towers, railways and hangars of various sizes contributing to a lifelike feeling. A player who wants to make something visually exciting and immersive would not be penalized by the game mechanics into taking a low resource yield. If you must impose some limit that makes small worlds less productive than large ones, let it be process number, worker population or something that does not actually limit artistic creativity. In real life, small worlds are probably more productive than large ones anyway, since the lack of corrosive weather, stable conditions and low gravity makes the infrastucture cheap and easily automated.
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Re: 2018-05-04 Helmet HUD

Postby Ikkir Isth » Sat May 05, 2018 11:02 am

Typically, the less strict you have to be the better: I would err on the side of giving smaller planets more buildings than giving them too few.

Regardless of whatever decision there is on planet building (or pop) limits though there is going to need to be a decision on morale, morale buildings, and the combining/removal of buildings that just dont make sense, in order to figure out colony balance.

That.... and we need to figure out building and production requirements to maintain colonies on inhospitable worlds all over again - amount of production per citizen, etc.

(Also, if theres gonna be any power system changes like jobs consuming 100 units of electricity to run here or there, or power grid management / allocation, nows the time for that too! Completely new building system brings all sorts of stuff to the table.)
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Re: 2018-05-04 Helmet HUD

Postby Minty » Sat May 05, 2018 12:42 pm

I definitely think planets need to have a limit somewhere, so that people don't just spam a million buildings.

However, I really think you should get that limit as high as you can, and I don't think that limit should be vastly different between planets, as Vectorus said. Keep at the optimizations, friend! I'm sure you'll find some more ways to get them to be less load-heavy.
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Re: 2018-05-04 Helmet HUD

Postby jakbruce2012 » Sat May 05, 2018 8:48 pm

I too am for having the same, or very close limits for all worlds, possibly even having a lower high limit, if necessary to keep overall load down. Unless there could be a type of building added that does nothing, and contributes little to server load, but could be placed for decoration, with its own limit.(not sure on the feasibility of this)
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Re: 2018-05-04 Helmet HUD

Postby Vectorus » Sun May 06, 2018 2:47 pm

So, two planets with 500 buildings each do not cause appreciable load on the servers, but one planet with 700 does. Is that correct? As I understand, Haxus' proposed limits are more to do with gameplay - making small planets somehow disadvantaged compared to large ones - than game resources. There are a few ways you could balance small worlds while letting them keep that precious 500 (or whatever) building limit, which I think is very important for all planets. As I said before, I'm not sure drastic limitations for small worlds are really needed, since in real life there are a good many reasons why a small world might be more productive than a large one, where a single raw material is concerned.

Ikkir makes a good point about morale. Increased morale costs and complexity are an obvious way of doing this. Perhaps maintenance resources to replace worn out electronics, grav couplings etc. could flesh out the system. While I was thinking about this, I came up with a fun idea, but I'm just brainstorming.

On a normal habitable planet, a lot of the development presumably comes from small-scale private enterprise, artisans, farmers and small businesses providing a certain amount of more or less unguided growth. On a hostile world, only large corporations and governments are going to be able to provide the infrastructure. Perhaps a set of difficulties could be associated with this. Upon founding a hostile world colony, you could choose to put it either under state or corporate control. The planet can always have 500 buildings, but:

State controlled worlds are reliable but inefficient. Over (a long) time, corruption and complacency among the administrators leads to decreased resource output. In order to combat this, the government needs to invest significant resources in keeping it from becoming a post-Soviet wasteland. State-owned factories need to be torn down and rebuilt to keep up with progress. Destroying and replacing a building brings it back up to max efficiency. But local bureaucracies become entrenched and resistant to the central government: over a long time, the number of changes you can make per day (building, destroying, changing processes) decreases, at length becoming very small. To combat this you can Purge Political Opponents. Doing this has a chance to fail based on loyalty, morale and nearby garrisons. Upon failure, the world secedes and you must retake it by force, battling your own former troops! Bonuses: discount to all goods bought at the colony by the government; increased loyalty gain and slow loyalty loss. Lower morale requirements. Resistance to disease and other adverse effects due to strict personnel protocols. Bonus to nearby military buildings. Etc.

Corporate worlds are productive but shady. You can't set up free broker shipments from them: you have to outbid NPC corporations and local authorities in order to send their resources offworld. If you can't outbid the competition, they fill more lucrative orders first before filling yours. Fleet ships cannot obtain free repairs or supplies at these worlds. Their loyalty is capped at 30% (for example) and they flip to other empires rapidly. When they take a big morale hit, it has a cascading effect on other corporate worlds throughout the empire, as the private sector loses confidence in the government. They have extra demands such as luxury goods and naval protection, without which they begin to be restive. Restrictive international trade laws may lower morale, too. When morale is low, corporate traitors may spontaneously make contact with other empires, with an invitation to make a better offer. They may reveal the location of the world or in the worst case spontaneously switch loyalty. Pirate frequency is increased around these worlds. Perhaps evil R&D departments could occasionally release high Q plagues or megabeasts from their labs in dramatic accidents...Bonuses: good boost to production, tax rate and population growth (as they attract labourers from the spacer population). Taxes can be lowered to provide a morale boost. Private security provides buildings with a small detachment of guards.

Just some suggestions, obviously not yet carefully balanced. All military bases and non-hostile worlds would be exempt from such a choice. Perhaps a very old and well-established state/corporate world could have the option to become a normal world (real life years?)

I'm trying to think of limits which promote personal involvement over time and fun gameplay, rather than a hard population cap or low building limit. It would be nice if colonies were less fire-and-forget. Now, don't get me wrong: I'd hate a situation where you just have to visit everything manually all the time, and these colonies should definitely function at some minimal level without babysitting; but the option to increase productivity by engaging in some fun activity like battling secessionists, cleaning up corporate lab containment failures etc. might be enjoyable. In the future, the story engine could be used to provide a number of more immersive and compelling scenarios along these lines, the completion of which improves colony performance! I'd love that!
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Re: 2018-05-04 Helmet HUD

Postby AnrDaemon » Mon May 07, 2018 6:07 am

I don't understand the issue. What actually causing load on the servers?
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Re: 2018-05-04 Helmet HUD

Postby Deantwo » Mon May 07, 2018 10:26 am

AnrDaemon wrote:I don't understand the issue. What actually causing load on the servers?

As far as I understood from talking with Haxus in-game. The biggest load right now is during server startup, where each building has to be checked for atoms on their site. Such as checking if items are laying on the building site, avatars or NPCs are on the building site or even inside the building, and same with vehicles and any other atoms.

I don't know more specifics than that, and I might have misunderstood something about it.
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Re: 2018-05-04 Helmet HUD

Postby Mr. Mortius » Mon May 07, 2018 4:53 pm

I would rather play the game than have to go around and click an "Increase Efficiency" button at every city, rebuild the city from scratch to keep production up, or deal with traitorous company cities. Bonuses to base production? Sounds fun. Penalties that require frequent revisits, including to remote colonies, to ensure even the baseline production? Sounds like a huge annoyance.
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Re: 2018-05-04 Helmet HUD

Postby Vectorus » Tue May 08, 2018 2:41 am

Mortius may be right. I'm trying to suggest some compelling reason to go back to cities you've already built, and thus produce an incentive to build them in as interesting a way as possible. It seems a shame that visiting cities isn't considered "playing the game", when you spend about half your time building them. There are some cities I've never been back to since starting them, and I only have 50 worlds! But there may be no way to do this using current mechanics, which isn't lame or tiresome. So instead of trying to translate my idea into current mechanics as I did earlier, I'll just put what's in my head:

Most cities work as advertised, most of the time - as in other games where city building is important but not the main focus (e.g. Crusader Kings II, Stellaris, Total War etc.) Occasionally, a city will mail you a quest from the story engine, depending on its unique circumstances. This happens once or twice a week per player/avatar, not per city. So it shouldn't have so many scaling problems.

Some quests are positive - an ancient wreck is drifting through the system, ransack it for a Q boost or patent cost reduction. Some are negative - megabeasts on the rampage, alien saucers abducting colonists: stop them or bear the consequences. In either case, the effects are moderate and only last (e.g.) one week, until the next round of quests is issued. Some very rare positive ones could have small permanent rewards, such as ringworld-style basic power for a normal planet. You can always ignore them, but there is an incentive not to. They are only generated when you are online. If you miss a week offline, you have the option to reopen quests from that week, but they won't force themselves on you as the current ones will. Some stories could be connected into arcs. Over time, you get to know your colonies and think of them as places where something memorable happened. Maybe you build a memorial to the people who were abducted. And the universe gradually builds character. Those small permanent bonuses become points of interest.

Hostile worlds have an increased likelihood to be chosen for negative events, due to their dangerous conditions - which was more or less the point of what I proposed earlier.

(An example quest: your city has lots of spacecraft factories. It chooses a story where your dock workers go on strike due to unsafe working conditions. They assemble at the citizen posts in the arena, or crowd around nearby, and the anxious magistrates invite the glorious leader to address his people. You can make a speech by choosing various dialogue options. You choose to talk about ruthlessly barbecuing and devouring your enemies with the ships they are building. In a city with carnivorous, armoured citizens, this goes down a storm and increases production for a week. In a city with timid herbivores, not so much.)

Would that be better? I think I would love the story engine to somehow be integrated with empire management, rather than a totally detached single-player experience (though it can offer that too), and I'm getting my foot in the door early :)
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