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How to manage 100 planets?

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#1 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3557

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 06:48 AM

4X game, you start with one planet and build a factory, then next planet, then next and finally like 20-30 at what point you get a nervous tick each time you invent a new building since you have to build it manually everywhere and finally you decide to give the management of the planets to AI (at what point I ask what is the purpose of this planet management in the first place since the player don't want to do it anyway). It's boring and annoying and lame.

 

Let's say you start with 20 planets and by the mid game you got 100. How to make a system where you can manage them (and it's fun or at least not annoying, but preferably fun)?


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#2 Navyman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4045

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 07:55 AM

Pax Empira had an auto build list system.


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#3 Navezof   Members   -  Reputation: 1225

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 08:27 AM

When you have between 1 and 10 planets you can manage each planet.

When you have between 10 and 20 planets, you still can manage each planet, bu they are also grouped in "province" of three planet. And having a "province" allow you to construct better buildings. (if you build 3 production unit on three different planet you will have less than build one production center in a province)

When you have between 20 and  30 planets, they are grouped in "mega-province". It add even more construction options.
 

Etc...

You have roughly the same number of "unit" to manage, but your possibilities go up.



#4 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 08:29 AM

I really admire the way you use forum :)

 

And it depends on what you mean by 'fun',  for me fun in such games is micromanaging all of them manually, for other it's not. I think key point is preventing unnecessary repetitive task.

 

I'd like to control economy of all provinces in "Lords of the Realm 2", but always hated to reassign serfs just because population is less than previous turn.



#5 Navezof   Members   -  Reputation: 1225

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 09:06 AM


And it depends on what you mean by 'fun',  for me fun in such games is micromanaging all of them manually, for other it's not. I think key point is preventing unnecessary repetitive task.


In this type of game, it's not that the task is not fun. At first it is fun, when you have only a handful of thing to manage. But as your empire grows the fun tend to go down, and it become repetitive. I have the same feeling when I play the likes of civilization, or even the total war serie.

That's why I think that the gameplay as to evolve as your empire evolve.


I'd like to control economy of all provinces in "Lords of the Realm 2", but always hated to reassign serfs just because population is less than previous turn.

Bonus cookie to you sir for playing Lords of the Realm 2 :D
 



#6 GoCatGo   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 1617

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 09:11 AM

Maybe through your tech tree you can have something that generates planetary governors -- a university or House of Nobles or [Whatever Works].  If you don't have the tech to train governors -- or enough of them -- you might have to manage them all yourself.  With the governors you could maybe set some basic parameters for each planet and have them chug along on their own (with random calamaties, of course).

 

Then have an enemy spy turn governors and then you lose planets!


I don't even like games anymore.


#7 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3557

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 09:22 AM


When you have between 1 and 10 planets you can manage each planet.

When you have between 10 and 20 planets, you still can manage each planet
That's why I made an assumption that you start with 20 planets. So we don't focus on the early fun of managing your 2 only planets (which is fun). Let's say the only scenario is we have 20-100 planets (you never had these 2 planets, just 20-30 from the first turn).

 

I really admire the way you use forum
Emmm... thanks I suppose? :) Not sure what is so unique of me asking questions I want answers for, I always though that's the whole purpose of forums :D But I suppose tastes may vary :)

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#8 Navezof   Members   -  Reputation: 1225

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 09:30 AM


That's why I made an assumption that you start with 20 planets. So we don't focus on the early fun of managing your 2 only planets (which is fun). Let's say the only scenario is we have 20-100 planets (you never had these 2 planets, just 20-30 from the first turn).

Mmh, then I will try to manage the big picture. Not managing the building, but more the ethic/direction/politics. This plus the possibility of having big plans. For exemple, building a huge space ship or a death star, or whatever. You'll just have to design which planet will work on which project. 


Emmm... thanks I suppose? Not sure what is so unique of me asking questions I want answers for, I always though that's the whole purpose of forums But I suppose tastes may vary

It's maybe your unique invasion of the forum and posting posts about space pretty much everywhere :D

#9 ferrous   Members   -  Reputation: 1919

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 09:41 AM

You want a system that scales well, basically?  How about:  Each planet only contributes resources, nothing else, they don't each build things, and just 'grow' on their own over time.  Space factories are crazy expensive in upkeep, and require X planets to support.  Or just outright give the player X shipyards per Y planets, with the option to move them to orbit other planets they own, but they can't build anything while being moved, if a player dips below the required planets, they have to choose a shipyard to go offline.

 

So 10 planets or less:  1 shipyard

11+ 2 shipyards

22+ 3 shipyards

 

Or what have you.

 

In some ways this is just moving the problem, but it also gives you better control, as you can flatline it, and say anything past 50 planets still only nets the player 5 shipyards, so they are only ever deciding on 5 things to build.  (or make upkeep exponential, so 1 shipyard is cheap, but 6 is nuts)

 

Basically, it's about keeping the player constrained to a limited set of choices that matter, and not overloading the player with trivial choices -- like the build order on a planet in MOO, when it's like you're 36th world.



#10 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2678

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 07:52 PM

I like the idea of planets going up levels of scale as you control more of a region.   Control a single planet in a region an you give orders to just that planet control all planets in a region and instead you give orders to the region.  Regions work together generating more production and research then the individual planets would generate they also allow for larger scale constructions. 

 

Planets > star system

star system > parsec

parsec > cluster

cluster > galaxy


Edited by TechnoGoth, 25 July 2014 - 07:54 PM.

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#11 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3557

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 02:33 AM

Pax Empira had an auto build list system.

Pax Imperia 1 (Mac only) or Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain (Mac & Windows)?


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#12 valrus   Members   -  Reputation: 579

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 10:56 AM

Maybe have it so you don't (and can't) choose individual buildings, but you can choose from one of a few "build loops": loops of build orders that represent a planetary governor's choices.  (So something like terraform -> agriculture -> terraform -> agriculture -> industry -> science -> repeat.)  Whatever the next "agriculture" building is is built whenever that node is reached.

 

The trick would be to choose a governor whose loop will be right for the planet itself.  Say you've got a barren planet with the ruins of an ancient civ on it.  The best would be a governor used to barren worlds (say, lots of "terraform" nodes) with an interest in archaeology (a "dig" node), but maybe no governor available to you has that combination.  So you have an interesting choice: appoint the one who will maximize the economic growth, or the one who will find artifacts but under whom the economy will stagnate?

 

Maybe as the game goes on you can choose more complicated loops, maybe finite state automata that can make decisions based on local conditions.  In other words, you'd be choosing AI governors, but not hiding the AI routine from the player: it would be right there for them to see.



#13 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1765

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 11:01 AM

Random thoughts that might be useful:

 

Base your control on regions, which are all controlled from a "regional capital" planet. Planets within a region are all specialists, based on the nature of a planet with some minimal flexibility to change what a planet does. Each planet provides various kinds of 'resource points' which are then controlled from just the capital. From that screen you can upgrade a given planets facilities 'to the next level', but don't force the player to manually decide if they want 'another mine in grid X,Y, a Habitat module, or to upgrade the existing habitat to a mk II version. Just keep in simple: Each planet has 3-4 'slots', a main 'infrastructure' slot, along with modifier slots (advanced waste processors/farming/storage, university/academy, intelligence facility, specific kind of research labs, defence systems, etc)

 

So rather than jumping between 20 planets at the start, you really have 2 or 3 capitals to worry about, and all your other 'planets' are merely modifiers that feed into your main hub where you make all your choices. The main 'infrastructure' slot can be a choice tree and represent general capacity/production from that planet, while each planet's modifier slot gives you strategic flexibility. Do you take the gamble of not taking up slots of core worlds with defence bonus options, and maximize them for production, while making the rim worlds far less productive, but arm the rim to the teeth as a wall against invasion?

 

Planets suitable for habitation would become your population and agricultural centres which produce food and workers/crew/scientists, but you have the option to decimate them and turn them into industrial or mining worlds. Planets which are borderline habitable would default to industrial production, with the option to invest into improving them for main habitation. Sub-habitable words become dedicated to mining or science which merely feed resources into the system which are then 'used' on other planets, but require food/population support from the other planets they support. 

 

A single screen can then easily allow the player to make decisions on 10-20 planets at a time, so your 100 world empire is easily managed from just a handful of screens. Add upgrades to your main hub world to allow them to control larger areas

 

 

 

This also gives you lots of design options for how the player can control their economics. Keeping it dead simple and just have planets feed resources to the core hub automatically, or putting it into the hands of the player to design trade routes (Which then become vulnerable points of their empire). Depending on your method of space travel this can be a really awesome mechanic in and of itself.

 

Maybe trade is done by way of Frank Herbert's Dune universe, where each planet is visited by a massive highliner like ship at scheduled intervals. New highliners are a massive cost, so the player would have to plan routes effectively, and decide if they want small amounts of resources to trickle into the core every turn/tick (where they can be used for your major projects/fleets), or do you use fewer highliners with longer routes which will result in having to go several turns without new resources, but then receive massive stockpiles every few turns?


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#14 wodinoneeye   Members   -  Reputation: 748

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 05:42 PM

You could have a standard profile for 'development' which would be a normal sequence of installations/builds that is appropriate for the uses you chose per planet.

 

Mining Raw materials  (mines, conversion facility, staff, transport)    similar for farming   specialize by resource per planet

 

Factory (factories, transport, workforce, serviceindustry)     variety/mix of what to prodce including military  - proximity to combination of raw materials    - specify what general type goods produced

 

Population center (transport, housing, serviceindustry,  luxury, cultural advancements, research)

 

A planet could have a mix of all above (or have to be singly specialized if you have 100 and sufficient mix to start off)

 

 

I actually got sick of 4X games that always pretty much had the same sequence of setup/advancement and usually too big a map to manage with too much repetative detail.

 

So this idea is to let the AI do the tedious stuff while YOU manage the decisions across your (upto) 100 planets to get/maintain a working mix of resource and to adapt as you grow.


Edited by wodinoneeye, 02 August 2014 - 10:13 AM.

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#15 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1765

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 08:34 PM

What exactly is the point of having detailed decisions for things like build orders if the user doesn't actually make those decisions? 

 

How does it add something useful to the game beyond selecting the world and upgrading it from a level 3 mining colony to a level 4 mining colony, and abstracting away all those fine details that you never cared about in the first place?


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#16 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1515

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 10:14 PM

I've got a long one for you but I think its worth the read.

 

If the player is laying out structures for different reasons then make that gameplay just one part of the game that leads to prefab constuction for later. Maybe challenging the player with objectives to build the ideal resource base (base being a combo of structures), the ideal construction base, the ideal recreation base, ideal population base, the ideal defense base, etc. Once the player has these "ideal" prefabs, challenge the player with placing them in ideal places on the planet. Then challenge the player with different planet types to get the best combination of bases across the different types of worlds. Once the player has a few "ideal" prefab combos of bases for different planet types give the player a gradient of world types meaning that you have an ice planet, a volcanic planet and a few types of volcanic ice/icy volcanic planets so the player has to really think about placing a prefab or taking the time to maximize the planets output by hand designing the base layout. 

 

The same system could be used for combat, the player could start with an outfit of combined arms purchased from the base to take out enemy bases. Once the player is controlling multiple bases they could build an army to dominate the planet. Once in control they could construct an "ideal" orbital launch base and begin construction on their orbital construction facility to start building fleet assets. As the player builds a large enough standing army on a world and a sizable fleet, they get to take their fight to new worlds. Once in control of multiple worlds the player could build warp gates and orbital outposts to move goods and fleets quickly and easily between major areas.

 

Along the way the player could be researching and upgrading individual structures, base designs (for better prefabs), world terraformers (to increase a worlds total output), deep space mining (begin earning resources for planets that are running dry), etc. Thus allowing them to focus research in the areas and on the scale they see to be important. Finally, instead of asking the player to upgrade each new asset across their empire, make the transition "in fiction" and as player driven as the player would like by making new tech expensive to replace the old tech. If new fusion reactors means higher output, make it pricey and have a base need to be achieving X amount of output to achieve the upgrade. This means the player can choose to make changes to a base by hand or let the base automate a slow increase to achieve the new tech (or even just wait for its price to go down as time goes by). If a new prefab base is designed to achieve X amount of output make a world need to achieve X amount of output to redesign the old prefab for the new one. Again this allows the player to choose how hands on they'd like to be in the process. That way its automated but still requires the player to "tweek" things to get full efficiency. Have it clear when something is outdated on any level be it a structure or a world and make sure their is a reason to have outdated stuff like pirate worlds, junk worlds, slave worlds, etc it keeps the universe feeling organic. A good reason to keep tha pirate world is to keep entire worlds from falling into civil unrest (if you were confused why you need outdated worlds).

 

Hope this idea gets the juices flowing.



#17 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3557

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 02:50 AM


What exactly is the point of having detailed decisions for things like build orders if the user doesn't actually make those decisions?
EXACTLY :) Building orders are not needed, it provides nothing, it's not fun, it's not a real meaningful decision.

 

Maybe like this:

 

Economy - the player actually makes 2 decisions (the rest is just useless micromanagement):

1) What is the focus of a planet (food, industry, research)

2) What is the level of investment (safe core worlds get maximum investment while border worlds that are prone to enemy conquest get minimum investment)

 

Defence - just one decision

1) What is the level of planetary defences, usually it's the opposite to investment level (safe worlds get none, border worlds get heavy fortifications).

 

Production - shipyards system is definitely best to my taste, I mean, the current "every planet builds space ships" is nonsense, it's not how it works in real world. Shipyards just construct the hull and install the modules that were produced in factories and delivered. Each planet should provide "production points" that are used up by shipyards.

 

So, I say these should be automatic (the planet increases industry/farms and defences over time automaticly, based oin the level the player set for it).

 

In addition the player should have some manual decisions (one time), for some cases like:

- where to build a shipyard (since these are rare)

- where to build an outpost/military base (like supply depot or extension of fleet range)

- maybe where to build some huge military space base (in the choke points) to defend the territory

- all buildings that affect several (nearby) planets, like "center of commerce" or "cultural center" or "government center"


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#18 agemO   Members   -  Reputation: 167

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 05:41 AM

"In this type of game, it's not that the task is not fun. At first it is fun, when you have only a handful of thing to manage. But as your empire grows the fun tend to go down, and it become repetitive. I have the same feeling when I play the likes of civilization, or even the total war serie."

 

The solution is to have something more automatic

 

"What exactly is the point of having detailed decisions for things like build orders if the user doesn't actually make those decisions?"

 

How an emperor rules ?

By giving order, and doing micromanagement every times it is needed.

So I think a very enjoyable game would be one where you start with a small number of planets, taking every decision, then as the number of planets grow you are able to make "plans", for example if you have ten planets with almost the same set of ressource, you would be able to replicate all the buildings and structures you have build on the first planet in one click.

 

You would also be able to give order according to some possible events, such as "if there is no more ore on the planet, reconvert it into post industrial planet" or "begin colonisation as soon as the ship arrive if the planet satisfy some requirements"

 

Each orders or plans would be designed by the player who would also have all the micromanagement power he wants.


Edited by agemO, 09 August 2014 - 05:43 AM.


#19 valrus   Members   -  Reputation: 579

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 08:42 PM

I was just thinking, what about having no permanent planetside installations at all?  Just having ships of various types, exploiting planetary resources and populations when necessary, but not setting up permanent institutions planetside.  Planetary gravity wells are deep, and it only makes economic sense to exploit resources sitting at the bottom of them if there's something there that you can't get more easily elsewhere.  

 

For some projects, there would of course be planetside buildings, but you don't have to manage these.  You could just treat them as delays in ship productivity.  (Like, instead of ordering a mine built, say that it takes 5 turns after entering orbit for a factory ship to reach maximum productivity.  They're building a mine, yeah, but they're not bugging the Emperor about it.  If they leave orbit and come back, though, it only takes 2 turns to reach maximum productivity -- because there's already a mine -- unless the planet has been bombarded in the meantime.)

 

In other words, be the Mongols.  Let the planetary peasants cower down in their gravity wells, exploit them for whatever they've got, and lob rocks down at them if they complain.







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