Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

Greetings!

So the team is starting work on the next major expansion pack.  But we also want to keep an eye on the base game.

Right now, the recent Steam reviews for GalCiv are pretty awful with most of the people reviewing it doing so because they don't like some of the changes in v2.5.  So if there are changes you would like in 2.7 and beyond, this would be the place to ask.

The Steam review system is something I have and will continue to complain about because frankly, it absolutely destroys games.  When it's less than 70, a game might as well not exist.  So I'll be explicit, if you want us to keep working on GalCiv III, please leave a Steam review.  If not, don't. If you already have, thank you!

As many of you know, I am AI biased. But I know I'm in a minority because there is another space strategy game outselling GalCiv III and, suffice to say, AI is not its focus. 

It is clear that narratives in games matter.  GalCiv has a quest system ala Fallen Enchantress/Sorcerer King.  But we have tried to avoid doing that because we don't want the game to be a series of scripted narratives.  We don't plan to change that position in the base game but we are looking at releasing DLC that will do that if players want it. 

Now, the next major expansion pack focuses on politics and government.  So we'll set all that aside for now.  Otherwise, it's all open. What would you like to see?


Comments (Page 9)
on Oct 06, 2017

Frogboy


The issue is that production has two inputs: Population & Improvements.

Regardless of whether Population increases at logrithmic, linear or exponential scale, you still have this general issue where one path is inevitably going to be better than the other.

 
One minor note here: it absolutely does not have to be the case.  Depending on how we do both the Pop:Production ratio, and the various % bonuses of the increasingly powerful improvements, it's VERY possible to have one path be more advantageous in the early game, and the other be considerably more advantageous in the late game.
 
That is, its easily possible to have it more advantageous to build Cities up through about turn 150, then the bonuses of the available improvements switches this to make them considerably more powerful, requiring a redo of many of the planets (or, at least, careful planning to be aware that this will be necessary).  The key to this approach is to avoid making one path too overpowering at all levels.  Reducing the Pop effects sets the stage for this, and tuning the Factory/et al. bonuses gets us the rest of the way.
 
------
 
If we don't balance things right, then merely adding a resource requirement does nothing; it simply puts us back in the "One Path to Rule Them All" approach. Because if the problem persists, only bounded by resource availability, then the strategy is to seize that resource immediately, and forget the other one. Civs which cannot do that aren't going to survive at all, because the underlying approaches aren't balanced.
 
Put it another way: presume we leave everything the way it is now, but add Durantium as a requirement for Factories, and Promethion a requirement for Cities.  Well, Cities are still absolutely dominant as the way to go, so the #1 priority becomes Get Promethion. Since it's not a universally available resource, you're going to immediately cripple Civs which cannot get ahold of it, by dooming them to the underperforming method of production.
 
You saw the problem, but didn't recognize what it meant, Brad, when you decided not to make Research dependent on a Resource. It's the same as for Production - being cut off from that resource cripples the ability of the race to compete in a very fundamental way.  In the case of Research, no resource = limited research capability = fall behind in tech.  In the case of Production, it's no "preferred" resource = much choose less desirable production method = fall behind in production.
 
And, of course, that doesn't even touch on the case where not having either resource effectively turns you into a Minor Civilization right out of the gate.
 
Balance between the two (Pop vs Improvement) is a fundamental necessity, whether or not you make resources prerequisites. 
on Oct 06, 2017

Look, I said as much above but it garnered no comment.  If you would stop proposing "the next upgrade" and instead propose the "next version" (e.g. GC4) you could go through alpha and beta phases to get the balance right before asking existing players, who have spent so much time and effort to dope out the secret rules, to evaluate the non-result, leaving you (us) free to experiment and get it right. 

I don't know how to apply it now except your "freeze it and go on" suggestion.  So freeze the less than perfect mods?  That doesn't help anyone.

 

 

on Oct 07, 2017

They do need to modernise the manual.

on Oct 07, 2017

trims2u

But that doesn't address the primary problem we have here, which is that under the current setup, the best strategy for something like a Quality 10 planet is 2 cities + 4 farms in appropriate configuration, plus 4 Approval buildings, and NOTHING else, and still be close to 75% Approval. That can get you to a Pop 20 or more planet that's a powerhouse compared against anything else you could do with that those 10 hexes. To say nothing if you do your Farms offworld, then you're looking at such a planet having 5 cities/5 Approval improvements, a 60% Approval, but close to a 40 population, and get that way before turn 150.
Hmm, I don't think this is right.

It's probably better going 3 city, hospital 6 farms and relying for approval from technology. Keep in mind that even 30% approval still only has -5% production while 70% approval only gains you about 12.5 % approval. This means going from 70% to 30% approval as a tradeoff for getting a third city equates to ~-17.5%, but from the additional city you get ~+50% population. The big downsides are in influence and resistance. The disadvantage in growth is more than compensated by the hospital.

-------

On having a slept a night on the pop required to operate improvements (or ships), I am not quite happy with the idea. It would just be another cap, although an intuitive one. In the best case it leads back to the vanilla system with a golden ratio of pop to manufacturing.

Also from his posts I read, that Frog, does not want pop to become a jack of even more trades. I see his point. (Although the idea of tying citizen production to it appeals to me.)

on Oct 07, 2017

leiavoia


Quoting Frogboy,

The issue is that production has two inputs: Population & Improvements.

... you still have this general issue where one path is inevitably going to be better than the other.



Two high level solutions come to mind:

 

    1. Get rid of one.

 

    1. Give each path a side-effect.

 


Strategy emerges when game elements do more than just one thing.

 

Please don't get rid of one. But I agree strongly that every resource (pop also being a resource) should have multiple effects so that you have to choose which effect you want to use (e. g. needing pop to build an improvement so that when you build one type like production you cannot build as much of another type like research because there is less pop left to build more improvements) or you have to make sacrifices to use it (like morale loss through high pop, what should have more effects than just lower productivity, like chance for rebellion).

on Oct 07, 2017

Frogboy

I don't think this would work well. It boils back down to the commutative property of addition. Whether it's the population or the improvements providing the flat doesn't really matter.
zuPloed

Hmm, but the multiplicative version only means there is an optimal ratio of flat to percent, which is governed by tile efficiency of improvements (currently ratio is so high that % is vanishingly small). This is nice for doing spreadsheets, but is not variety in a higher sense either.
I am going to show the calculation and an example in the current balance here.

----- Derivation -----

The manufacturing formula is this:

M = (M0 + NM * etaM) * ( M0% + NM% * etaM% )

where
M ist the total manufacturing in the end
M0 is the flat manufacturing received from none-improvement bonusses
M0% is the flat manufacturing recieved from none manufacturing bonusses
NM is the number of tiles occupied be flat bonus improvements
NM% is the nmber of tiles occupied by percent bonus improvements
etaM and etaM% are the per tile efficiencies of improvements.
N0 is the number of available tiles and must be the sum of NM and NM%

Thus we can substitute NM% = N0 - NM in M, We want to find NM such that M is at a maximum. Thus we calculate the derivative of M with respect to NM and equate it to zero:

0 = etaM * ( M0% + etaM% * ( N0 - NM ) ) - etaM% * ( M0 + etaM * NM )

solving this for NM yields the optimal NM:

NM = 0.5 * [ N0 + M0% / etaM% - M0 / etaM ]

 

----- EXAMPLE -----

I use the following parameters:
N0 = planet class - 1 (colony capital)
M0% = 100% (no % based bonusses from citizens, tech or starbases)
etaM% = 10% per tile (basic factory with level 2 adjacency)
M0 = 4 (3 pop and 1 production from colony capital, no asteroids)
etaM% = 1.333 per tile (3 cities and 6 farms with level 2 each providing 12 manufacturing in total)

Hence we get:

NM = .5 * [ planet class - 1 + 10 - 3 ] = 0.5 * planet class + 6

This means, if you only get to choose between farms+cities and basic factories and your planet has class 12, you should not build factories and only start doing so above class 12. This neglects the space elevator deep core mines of course, which has a tile efficiency of 2 and thus is better for manufacturing than a city.

They can be considered by raising M0 to 9 (3 form the mine level 3 and 2 from the elevator level 2) and reducing free tiles N0 by 2. Then we get:

NM = .5 * [ planet class - 3 + 10 - 6.75 ] = .5 * planet class + 0.25

Meaning for a class 12 planet you should build 6 cities and farms 3 basic factories while having space elevator, deep core mine and colony capital.

Lets have a look at the assumptions I have made here:
- neglected approval, whose production modifier is multiplicative with etaM% and can multiply it with a factor of up to 1.67 (o approval in city strategy and 100% in factory strategy). On average I would consider a factor of about 1.1-1.25 reasonable here. The effect gets reduced by governance techs (loosing 25% of 100% hurts more than losing 25% of 150%).
- neglected starbases and citizens. starbases and citizens easily let you increase M0% to 150%
- Asteroid mines will increase M0
- technology can raise the tile efficiency of factory and city-farm complexes

This does still sounds like it balances out somewhat.

But we are still neglecting, that cities also provide research and wealth. We can account for that by reducing etaM% to an effective efficiency by dividing by two (four in case of research buildings, because manufacturing has two outputs, social and ship manufacturing, while cities have all 4 outputs). Space elevator tile efficiency would ahve to be adapted by dividing by 2, too and the deep core mine by dividing by 4 since it only has 1 output.

Now lets do another example with these in mind:
N0 = planet class - 3 (colony capital, space elevator, deep core mine)
M0% = 115% ( 3 starbases providing 10% each reduced by a factor of two due to addressing only manufacturing outputs)
etaM% = 6.25% per tile (basic factory with level 2 adjacency, accounting for multiple outputs of cities and approval boosting efficiencies by a factor of 1.25 again)
M0 = 8 (3 pop and 1 production from colony capital, 5 asteroids) + 1 (level 2 space elevator) + 0.75 (level 3 deep core mine) = 10.75
etaM% = 1.333 per tile (3 cities and 6 farms with level 2 each providing 12 manufacturing in total)

NM = .5 * ( planet class - 3 + 18.4  - 8 ) = .5 * planet class + 7.4

And this is substantial. It means a class 19 planet should have 1 colony capital and 16 population improvemens (+colony, capital, space elevator and deep core mine).

 

----- Conclusion -----

In a balance without flat bonusses from improvements except from population (so there is no commutative addition), the tile efficiency of all manufacturing improvements has to be doubled, that of research labs has to be quadrupled. I am not up to date with wealth improvement values (treasure hunting finances my empire just fine x) ).

I hope this was understandable, feel free to point out mistakes, anyone.

 

edit: changed up some numbers in the examples, I wan inconsistently treating whether to use all outputs of a city or only one.

on Oct 07, 2017

Supposedly, Factories were nerfed because the accumulation of % bonuses was too strong. However, this logic is incorrect.

Suppose planet Earth has 5 raw production and no bonuses, yielding 5 Construction.

If you double the raw production to 10, then your Construction is similarly doubled to 10.

If you double your Construction to +100%, then your Construction is also doubled to 10.

If you triple your raw production (to 15) or Construction (to +200%), then your Construction is also tripled to 15.

However, if you double both your raw production to 10 and your Construction to +100%, your Construction is quadrupled to 20.

If you triple both your raw production to 15 and Construction to 200%, then you get 45 Construction, 9 times the original.

This is called exponential growth. The problem is not that % bonuses are too powerful or that flat bonuses are too powerful, but that combining them is too powerful.

As Factories are now, it is extremely difficult to even get to +100% Construction, but it is very easy to increase your raw production by several times.

If you do not wish for Factories to be overpowered, then do not have them give % bonuses at all. You will not be able to find a balanced number.

on Oct 07, 2017

To me it would be cool if every building, component, etc. requires a specific output and factories, labs, and wealth improvements turned raw production into output.

I mean it could be as simple as a laser requires 50 Parts 1, or it could be as complicated as a Doom Ray needs 160 items but they are spread amongst four components - 30 Advanced Quantum Subspace Electronics, 30 Advanced Nano Metatube Casings, 50 Advanced Graviton Capacitors, and 50 Anti-tachyon Switches.

 

In the complicated versions Factories could turn raw production into one of like 10 different components, that advances over time. So for electronics maybe they start with Basic Silicon-Carbon Electronics, which any level one factory could build and it advances from there. 

on Oct 07, 2017

What if each building that gave a flat + to raw had a max raw output.

Colony max output 5, so a pop of 5 would yield 5  in each category, manufacturing, science, wealth etc.

Increasing the pop would give nothing extra.
Each manufacturing building would add to the max manufacturing output,
Each research building adds to the max research output etc.

Building a factory without the pop would only give you the % bonus.

To get the best results you would need both pop and relevant buildings.

So if your pop is below max output (in any field) you get pop 1:1 + bonuses.
If pop is greater than max output you get 1:1 up to max output + bonuses

Better tech would increase max output as you upgrade buildings.

Building all cities is pointless, building all manufacturing will give you something but not ideal.

on Oct 07, 2017

treborblue,

 

One good thing about your idea is that it seems like it would be both fairly easy to balance and would allow for specialization. 

on Oct 07, 2017

Broadly speaking, the goal is for a planet to remain within a certain, manageble level of development.

If a planet starts at N production, we don't want it to go beyond 3N by end of the game.  3N is a huge jump.

But we have frequently seen cases where people are getting 100N or 200N.

 

on Oct 07, 2017

Frogboy

Broadly speaking, the goal is for a planet to remain within a certain, manageble level of development.

If a planet starts at N production, we don't want it to go beyond 3N by end of the game.  3N is a huge jump.

But we have frequently seen cases where people are getting 100N or 200N.

 

While I agree there needs to limits as to what is acceptable in terms of output, not everyone who plays the game is a mathematician. Adding hard caps or limiting free play is going to upset someone. (usually the vocal ones)
I play to have fun, most players do. I don't want to have to get my calculator out every time I colonise a planet.

Balance is key. I assume that when I research an upgrade for a building it will benefit me more. 

Special buildings and special weapons should require special resources, but why does building a city require a special galactic resource, just to cap output. It doesn't feel right.

on Oct 07, 2017

I'm going to put in another vote for UI and interface-focused improvements.

If you spend too much effort worrying that building X is the best to build, and changing it, well now building Y is the best to build...  Only tweak balance when it is actually reducing gameplay (such as one build path being obviously superior to all others, or buildings that are never worth making, etc.)

And if you have to put an easily-reached cap on something to fix it, there is a basic formula somewhere that is the actual problem.

on Oct 07, 2017

The problem is exponential growth.

For example, the latest update changed a City to 3 Population +10% Population Cap per Level. This instantly broke Cities. With 3 Cities and a Colonial Hospital, my planet has 24 max population [(3+3+3+3)*2.00]. Before this update, I would only have had 17 max population (3+4.5+4.5+5).

If you want to prevent players form breaking 100N, then reduce exponential growth as much as possible. This means you either have to reduce the  amount of +% bonuses players have access to. For example, Factories with +% bonuses. or Economic Starbases with +% bonuses. It should be fine to have Uniques and Achievements with +% bonuses, because they're difficult to stack.

Keep in mind though, that 3N is an impractical limit for planetary production considering the rising costs of improvements and especially ships by the late game.

Also, the Promethium cost on Cities is not limiting me at all whatsoever.  Instead of trying to limit cities, you could try nerfing them instead. 

One more thing. Why aren't you fixing Factories? They're  awful.

on Oct 07, 2017

As far as a planet producing 100N, I dunno if that is overboard, but there has to be a reason to build allllll those buildings that do nothing but multiply each other for a later payoff.  If you go limiting a planet to triple base population production, I guarantee the game is dead.  I mean, that's basically the game.  You take that away, you kill it.

I already look down the list of buildings and go "hmm, don't need that, don't want that, don't need that..."  I should be looking at all the juice and trying to decide which of all those wonderful things I'm going to choose.

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