-How do related technologies fit into the retrofitting scheme? I mean, how much is involved in going from Laser 2 at a starbase to Laser 3? I would have to imagine that it's not a dramatic change, maybe the base needs more power to use Laser 3 and obviously the physical weapon itself, but does that cost compare with, say, adding a new facility to the base?
Interesting question. I would imagine this would require a different assembly line of some kind, but its quite possible that only a few subcomponents of the laser would be affected.
As a reference, building a whole new car requires a genuinely new assembly line whereas a 2013 iteration of the 2012 model might just make a few adjustments so to speak. I imagine both are viable approaches, although, from a gameplay perspective, the investment should be sizeable.
The investment in resources doesn't necessarily need to translate to physical components changed in the assembly line. It could represent time spend by a "lean" team to iterate on the current assembly line, or as you pointed out, greater energy intake.
-How would you handle more self-contained technologies? A rail gun needs power, but otherwise really just needs to be mounted into a window or general turret bay.
I'm not entirely familiar with the inner workings of the rail gun, but I imagine that any technology that can be enhanced would generally come at a cost of option, otherwise, why would we still produce weaker designs at all? Most high-techs are generally not mainstream because their cost of production is inefficient. As a reference, its possible to build supercomputers for millions of dollars, but the average joe won't commission this because:
a - they cost too much (largely because b)
b - the demand is low because the average joe has no practical use for so much power
That said, you seem to have insight on this matter. Feel free to share, I'd like my system to account for loose ends
-What is required to re-fit a ship or station? Better weapons might need more power to operate, but I'm having trouble imagining what other major work would need to be done to install a new weapon system that has already been manufactured? By major, I mean large enough that it would register in a 4X as something that would take a turn. Maybe something like training operators to use the new system?
Retrofit is an ability I plan only few species using. With that said, I agree with you, retrofitting appears simple enough, but don't overlook QA process. Before launching a shuttle into space, even a minor human error could lead to destruction. Diagnostic of the current implementation might be the reasoning behind waiting for 1 turn for retrofit to be complete.
So if you invest a lot in manufacturing capacity you can crank out facilities, ships, etc. very very quickly.
I'm ok with that, so long as your choice is quantity over quality. It will allow you to cover more ground with the same amount of resources, at the cost of having to generate concentration of forces on the fronts you wish to cover. Which inherently means that an opponent that focuses on quality will have a hard time to cover his bases, but might catch several of your ships unaware, evening out the fleet. Both are viable strategies and require skill to master.
A shorter game, involving a smaller map, causes non-research elements to be more important as you can't rely on executing a turtle-and-tech strategy.
That would come in conflict with a design decision I've previously made for my game unfortunately. The map will not be "limited". In fact, it will be near-infinite to better depict space as an environment where its possible to expand. Sensor ranges will thrump movement speed by a tremendous margin to account for this. Thus, I can't choose to artificially limite the breadth of the galaxy to "fix" the turtling strategies here.
Having Laser 2 while your enemy only has Laser 1 shouldn't decide the game, but Laser 9 vs. Laser 2 probably ought to.
Interestingly enough, having laser 9 tech should also cost a lot more resources to implement once researched. The idea is that only few ships will benefit from that top tech. Most games assume researches as linear upgrades that affect previous ship retroactively at no cost, not further increasing ship production costs. That's the aberration I'm trying to solve.
Also, please note that while a ship with 1 level 9 laser would technically defeat a ship with 5 level 1 lasers, it should be helpless when faced with 10 ships with 1 level 1 laser each. Once again here, its a matter of choosing quality over quantity, and a sturdy battleship with few yet powerful lasers should lose to a fleet of unarmored fighters.
There are a few rock-paper-scissor strategies in space warfare that I'd like to keep, and this implementation allows me to scale it efficiently.
For me to feel comfortable with a system like this I would expect the game to have an explicitly short timescale, like, a whole game encompasses less than a century of simulated time.
I was thinking that a game would probably be no longer than a few years at worst, depicting weeks (52 turns for 1 year). I'm still trying to figure whether it would be possible to create an assembly line efficient enough to build up small ships within 1 week though.
Production, population growth, and travel time would also have to be tweaked to fit
The one that I'm worried about is population growth. I mean, I would hardly imagine population to increase more than 3% over the span of a single year, so it could make each crew lost that much more important. Crew shortage could be an issue that needs balancing, but I'm ok with that. I've rarely lacked population in any 4X so far, thus it might be refreshing (there was a Star Trek Armada game though where pilots were actually trained over time and always in short supplies as far as I can remember).
A standard 4X game typically encompasses centuries or millenia; I expect radical technological progress to be available over that span and I also expect there to be at least some differences in research capacity between groups. I might just be overly biased by the standard game model, but a game with a mechanism like you propose sounds like it would need to be structured very differently from other 4X's in most other respects as well.
That's actually a good thing. Like I said, I'm not opposed to the current model, and the project I'm tackling is meant to be different. I'm trading macro with micro, and I anticipated that several game elements would need to change in order to accomodate for this shift. If you have any other specific examples popping into mind, feel free to share as it would unmistakably help me establish the core gameplay elements of this design.
Posted Yesterday, 10:28 PM
having technology increase your efficiëncy *exponentially* is a matter of numbers-tweaking, in most 4x-games i win with technological superiority because i was winning the game already, it just took some time, and i didn't stop researching in that time.
numbers-tweaking can mean making every next technology cost more(exponentionally, often) or making the technological improvements smaller relatively.
I'm not arguing the logic of it. I just want this game to be won by logistics rather than tech.
lastly, having multiple technologies available but only implementing one at a time means a player makes choices, instead on playing on "auto-pilot" which most players will enjoy(not all), but, the same can be said about discovering new technologies, so i realy wouldn't scrap that(though given as an option for a skirmish-game to start with all technologies could be a nice addition)
Why not make everything available to them so this is a constant choice? A lot of modern games like to bring you the content over time and grant you a permanent ability to produce these things, which has been largely influenced by a strong focus on tutorials, for the casual player audience. My system gives it all to you, but limits your ability to produce things based on various factors (was your starbase destroyed? could you muster the funds to implement this infrastructural change?)
While it could be considered negative feedback, it forces you to cherish what you have and plan what you need. It also hurts when your opponent's strategy counters your efficiently. If they've figured Starbase-BT01 was your strategic implementation for "fast scout ships" and they're struggling to keep you out of their backyard, they should be rewarded for destroying it, by making you less efficient. You can't just turn your head to the nearest starbase and instantly produce scouts to compensate: you need to make the logistical adjustments to this starbase before you can, and the opponent can take advantage of this delay.
I think it emphasizes player skill, though it can be abrupt/unforgiving to newcomers.
I'm not saying it will never work, actually I would love to try a game with a system like that in place, but I suspect it could work only in some specific circumstances. As the minimum requirement I would say it needs to be simple (as simple as research for example).
The VGA Planets (an old DOS-era game still largely active to this day with its 5th reinstallement)'s implementation, from which this originally was derived, is actually fairly simple:
Each starbase has a level in HULLS, ENGINES, BEAMS, TORPEDOES.
It costs credits for an instantaneous upgrade which allows you to build tech components of that level.
That's it. That simple (much simpler than researching). Each level has 1 or 2 components only (crew-killers or more powerful weapons).
I'm looking for a relatively similar system with as much ease of use.
That does not sound fun to me.
I must admit I'm a bit concerned as well. This was one of irritating parts of StarKnights. However, I'm looking for ways for individual starbases to operate different techs without impeding the player's ability to assemble "master ships".
One starbase is level 1 engine and level 10 weapons, the other is level 5 engine and level 5 weapon. I'd like the player to, somehow, be able to assemble a level 5 engine, level 10 weapon. Perhaps however, its best to keep the cost of option present here and simply not grant them this ability?
VGA Planet's solution was to build a level 5 engine level 5 weapon ship, move it to the other starbase, and retrofit it with local weapons.
The idea of moving components merely gives non-critical ships (freighters) the ability to do the moving instead.
I'm not hellbent on implementing this mechanic though.