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Member Since 30 Jun 2003
Offline Last Active Jan 18 2016 08:38 PM

#5170611 Exploration in space 4X (boring & tedious)

Posted by on 31 July 2014 - 09:10 AM

To pull another mechanic out of Europe Univeralis IV in that at the start you can't explore or colonize empty provinces.   In order to explore you first need to unlock the second idea in the exploration idea group.  This idea lets you hire explorers to command your fleets or armies.  Only forces led by an explorer can travel into uncharted territory. It doesn't matter if you have a thriving province adjacent to an uncharted province you can't go there or speak to the country that owns it until its been explored. Over time areas explored by other nations will be revealed to you but it a slow process.


Colonization on the other hand requires colonists which are a special resource? Depending on the ideas you've unlocked and the country you are playing you can have at most 4 colonists.  Colonists are sent to empty provinces and setup a colony which slowly attracts settlers and over the course of a few years builds it up a city.  Provided it doesn't get destroyed by natives or other players.


You could have something similar maybe instead of colonists its survey teams or science vessels.  You need them to get colonies started or make a region safe for your ships to travel. It all depends on how you want to go with your game. Europe Univerallis IV is all about limiting what the player can do any one time, MOO was all about getting the player to expand as fast as possible.

#5170174 Exploration in space 4X (boring & tedious)

Posted by on 29 July 2014 - 03:11 PM

The primary feature is that you move ships/fleets between systems/planets. And when they enter such system you get some information (planet size, enemies, warp paths/lines).


Why do you need to send a fleet there?  Why not just give all that to player for free for all system in range?  


Sending fleets to find out what's nearby is so 1492.  :)


If the player can reach a star then they should know basic planet info, if any enemies have claimed part of the system, and what space lanes connect to it with out the need to send a scout ship.  You might not know about the deadly space monster currently living there, or that there are ruins on the third moon of one of the planets, or if any planets are suitable for colonization but that's what probes are for.


Warpgates are really game changing. I don't think I would implement warpgates just so exploration can work Besides... in practice, wouldn't you rather colonize rich nearby planets? Proximity is proximity, you already have to defend the part of space near your homeworld (via invasion from nearby races that do not require any warpgate). As a player, I think distant colonization is a suicide (it's not about travel, it's about more hostile races you will be neighbouring).


It depends on your game set up.  If stars are clustered into groups with large distances between clusters then Explorer class ships would act as a bridge allowing you to reach the nearby clusters which would otherwise be impossible without significantly upgrading your fuel technology.


Also explorers would be important if habitable worlds are uncommon or rare. At the start of the game you might only be able to colonize 1-5% of planets in the galaxy. On the rest the best you could do is build an outpost.  In that way finding worlds to expand to is part of the early game challenge. There might only be one planet in range you can expand to from your homeworld there might not be any.  


This also adds an interesting dynamic if different alien races have different habit requirements. Human's might by only able to colonize earth like planets at the start.  But the Egon's can colonize Jupiter, Neptune, and Uranus, do you let them form colonies on otherwise worthless worlds to you?  Do you place tariffs on them? Exchange cultures, share technology, enslave them with your fleet. 

#5170141 Exploration in space 4X (boring & tedious)

Posted by on 29 July 2014 - 12:33 PM

Yes. Except one little "problem" The player can just send regular fleet there So, scouting can't be more expensive that using regular fleet (or no one will use that option).
Yes, players do wreak the most elegant design solutions Those bastards!


What I was thinking is that you have either or a combination of range and travel lanes.  So your maximum fleet range is say 10 light years you can't send a ship beyond that unless you improve your fuel tech or build a colony which would then provide a 10 light year range around itself(standard 4x stuff)  An explorer ship though has range of 10 or 20 times your maximum range. You can send one to investigate and chart worlds 200 light years a way and if they find a interesting planet you could plan your expansion to reach that world or invest in building a two way warp gate connecting that distant world to the warp gate network.  Once in place you or any other race can reach your homeworld from that planet or any other planet in gate system. So you better make sure its not within range of any brain parasite planets if you can't guard the entrance.


BTW, I love the "send probe button", it's so... cute and easy and elegant Only if I knew how to use it with regual fleets (that HAVE TO have an option to explore since they are physically entering the orbit of a planet).


Glad you like it.  What about not letting them explore?  If a ship has a science lab it can survey any planet in a system for free or even does it automatically when it arrives. But fleets without science labs are simply unequipped to survey planets, and you can't colonize an unsurveyed planet.  After all anything could be down there.

#5170127 Exploration in space 4X (boring & tedious)

Posted by on 29 July 2014 - 11:44 AM

Well your science level should eliminate the need to actual visit nearby planets to scout them.  Even our current level of technology allows astronomers to find distant planets calculate their size, mass, and their atmospheric composition, and make predictions on other features like that planet is a gas giant, that one is a mineral planet, that one could be made of diamond.  If you can travel across interstellar space in reasonable time then you should have at least enough physics knowledge to identify what will be there when you arrive.  Alien hyperspace radio signals would let you know that it was occupied.


You could have a send probe button.  Essentially you paid small cost to send a scout drone to a system and it will provide a full account of all planets.  Thus eliminating the need for scouts instead you pay the cost directly for each system you want to know about. The same approach could also be used to recon enemy worlds later on in the game.



On the flip side why not make explorer class ships super expensive?  An explorer class ship would be one the biggest ships in your fleet able to operate far beyond your normal range with no support requirements. You might only build a couple of explorer class ships in a game.  There purpose is to explore deep space and build new warp gates to add to your hyperspace network. They can travel in deep space and are not limited to normal travel lanes. As such isolated system off the normal travel lanes can only be reached and added to your empire by sending an explorer class ship there to build gate. They also can't be included in any fleets as other ships are unable to operate in places the explorers travel.

#5170058 Exploration in space 4X (boring & tedious)

Posted by on 29 July 2014 - 08:50 AM

Well if space is empty and boring then exploration is boring.  What do you find? Planets you may or may not want to colonize, and other races.


You could ditch all that and have everything in sensor/fuel range known.  So if you can reach another star system you know what its planets are like. You could then replace exploration with archaeology.


Archaeology would allow you send to research vessels to long dead worlds or strange locations to try and find ancient relics, wealth, and technology.  Archaeology takes time and those research ships can be plundered on their way back.  So if you find 10,000 gold in an alien vault you still need to get it back to you home world before you get the credits.  Pirates and other players could attack the ship and if its undefended it instantly surrenders and switches sides.


Relics might provide permanent bonuses but have long term costs which are unknown so its up to the player to decide if they want to use them or not.  The intelligence booster might give you a 20% research bonus but it will be a few decades before people realize its halved your populations growth rate.  The bliss computer net might make everyone happy in the empire but each turn there is small but growing chance it will try and take over.

#5169886 How to avoid "stacks of doom" in 4X?

Posted by on 28 July 2014 - 04:52 PM

I don't think MOO solved the stack problem rather it created it.  in MOO 1 you could build multiple ships per turn and ship types stacked so in a single battle there might be a stack of 10,000 small ships and you might kill a few thousand a volley with your spatial disrupters.  


In MOO2 ships no longer stacked but you still had large AI Fleets.  Generally they would have massive fleets with 40+ ships and just move that from planet to planet. Depending on tech you might be able only be able to kill 1 or 2 a round or 1 per shot.  That is probably why the game included the stellar converter weapon which more powerful then every other weapon combined.  It did 2000 damage never missed and could destroy planets the second strongest weapon only did 50-100 damage.  Many times in MOO2 late game planets would get stuck in lengthy blockades where you simply didn't have enough combat rounds per turn to kill all the enemy ships. The computer opponents cheated so they could build and maintain far more massive fleets then players could build.


And you couldn't use non-tactical combat because it didn't resolve to the same out come as tactical combat on auto.  The non-tactical combat would let a large weak fleet win against a small fleet of high tech ships they couldn't damage in tactical combat.

#5169318 How to make unique and interesting planets (4X)?

Posted by on 26 July 2014 - 10:14 AM

What if you had a post collapse universe?   So the game takes places thousands or millions of years after a grand intergalactic war ravaged the galaxy. The once great empires are now gone and the young races are venturing out into the galaxy for the first time.


You could have regions were bioweapons of destroyed most of the life on the planets.

Regions where the inhabits are former primitive slaves or experiments living on the hulking remains of once planet sized vessels.

Regions were ancient minefields making travelling dangerous.

Garden sectors were advance technology makes every world a gaia class planet but malfunction gardern drones attack incoming ships or maybe the weather net is hackable with the right level of tech.

#5169317 Why Dune (game) will never be made again

Posted by on 26 July 2014 - 10:12 AM

It could very well be that HLP doesn't even own the rights to make a dune games any more.   In a lot of case companies buy those rights when they make a game if they can rather then licencing them. Those companies fold, get bought out, and change hands and eventually the rights end up with a company that doesn't have any plans to use them but holds on to them just in case.



I remember that on the Shadowrun returns kickstarter that the creator posted about the surreal experience of licencing back the rights to make a new version of his own game.

#5169219 How to manage 100 planets?

Posted by on 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

#5169212 Problems with a multi race empire

Posted by on 25 July 2014 - 07:15 PM

I've been playing a lot of imperium universal IV(do not buy this game unless you want to to lose all your free time) recently and in that the the whole world is simulated with hundreds of small independent countries, as well as large empires.  Small and large countries rely on diplomacy to create alliances and vassels for defense and expansion.  Even if you are the most powerful nation in the world if you expand to quickly your empire will start tearing itself with revolts and the other nations might join forces into massive coalition to destroy you.



You don't need do more then give each race a set of stats and a unique symbol or flag. What also makes things interesting is having each race develop at different rates and start at different technology levels.

#5169202 How to make unique and interesting planets (4X)?

Posted by on 25 July 2014 - 06:03 PM

and with a strange substance that extends consciousness and allows folding space Sorry, couldn't resist


Actually that would make a pretty cool 4x mechanic.  If there was one planet that generated a unique resource ie spice and if controlled gives that one player instantaneous movement across the galaxy.


But then I think a 4x scenario were an nearly unstoppable force is slowly devouring the universe one planet at a time would be interesting as well.

#5168977 How to make unique and interesting planets (4X)?

Posted by on 24 July 2014 - 03:27 PM

one word unicron





Other ideas:


Strategic resource -  Have a collection of different strategic resources and planets may have at most 1 of these resources.  They could unlock unique tech, or provide special bonuses.  Every dilithium planet in your empire could increase fleet speeds by 1 for instance.


Culture - Groups of planets and races develop cultures over time.  Those might provide bonuses and penalties depending on the culture and how your empire treats different cultures.  


Specialized worlds,  How about  a farm planet?  Or a Library Planet, or a single city planet, an entrainment world, or once made entirely of metal populated by robots, or a desert planet with giant sand worms. 

#5167814 Fleets with personality & no micromanagement (4X)

Posted by on 19 July 2014 - 10:43 AM

If your favourite part is the builder playing around with all the different cools system and features like lego to make an awesome ship then why not focus on that? I'm going throw out a wild idea here instead of fleets with personalities what about ships with personalties?


Forget grand sweeping intergalactic strategy with massive fleets fighting for control of hundreds of worlds.  Instead think small. Maybe a dozen planets across 4 star systems.


Give the player 100 points to spend on building their empires fleet. Give them lost of little choices and cools options to customize each ship with let them spend all 100 on a single ship or 10 small ships its up to them.  


Maybe they design a ship with 1 giant space gun and a bunch of drone bays.   Then give them the ability to design or choose what kind of drones are in each bay.  This one has repair drones, this one has drones that explode on impact, this one cloaked drones with lasers.


Develop a new tech or just want to redesign a ship no problem simple dock it in the shipyard and change what you want the you just have to wait for the refit to be completed.


Now that I think about it what I'm describing sounds a lot like a 4x version of the old games workshop table top games like Necromunda, Warhammer, or Warhammer 40k 

#5167453 Fleets with personality & no micromanagement (4X)

Posted by on 17 July 2014 - 12:45 PM

As long as you can change the doctrine at any time the fleet is out of combat and even combine some doctrines the player still has the power to control and repurpose the goal of a fleet as they want it just takes time to reorganize and refit the ships.


The problem I've always found with manual refitting of ships in games is that is prohibitively expensive. You earn 15 credits a turn but to refit your cruiser with the latest tech costs 1000 credits or you can build new one of 5 turns at a shipyard. Its not till the end game when I can normally afford the refit cost and by then I don’t need to refit. At the start and mid game when it’s most useful I can’t afford to do it.


Letting the AI manage the fleets and shipyard capacity also solves the ships collecting dust problem.  How many times have players built ships at planet for defence or as a deterrent and left them there to collect dust never being used and so far out of date that when they do get attacked that don’t last a round.



Your admirals could also gain experience, and over time acquire new traits, special skills, problems, and medals. It can also introduce new political and espionage game play elements.


What do you do if your best and oldest admiral is a drunken xenophobe who is always causing diplomatic insults to your allies?


Do you really trust the blue admiral to defend your core worlds after you just declared war against her people?


After a long bloody war with green you form a peace accord by marrying the Yellow admiral to one of their admirals and turn a border planet into a new neutral empire ruled by the former Yellow Admiral.


Getting rid of manual ship design and fleet control also opens up the possibility of moving away from the rigid tech tree to a more fluid tech web with advancement and counter tech possibilities.


Instead of just researching specific technology you could allow the research of counters.  Your spies have information on Green’s latest shields with that info you can have your scientists designs a new kind of phasor that can piece through green’s shields.  Giving the Green Enemy doctrine to a fleet will ensure they have this tech when it’s ready and will send Green into complete disarray when you launch your surprise attack.

#5167269 Fleets with personality & no micromanagement (4X)

Posted by on 16 July 2014 - 06:11 PM

Not exactly. I want the player to assign the ships on a strategic level, I just don't want to not make it low level regular chore.
The idea is that the player can say "Yellow fleet will have all ships with anti radiation shields" and then send that fleet at the border with a race that uses radiation weapon and to say "Green fleet will have more weapons" and send that fleet against a weak enemy.
If the admirals (AI) were to build and assign these ships the whole concept of separate fleets would make no sense (because every fleet would be identical - except the perks of the admiral)..
Plus, where is the player's choice then? Deciding what kind of ships to build and which fleet should get them is an interesting & meaningful decision in my opinion.


Well I guess what I was suggesting is that admirals have traits which determine what kinds of fleets they put together.  The elite trait means they small numbers of the ships with the best tech, stealth means use fast ships, with stealth capabilites.  Engineer might mean they favour drones or mines.  Fighter ace would have more strike craft and carriers.


The player picks admirals from a pool or creates them to fit an overall style and strategy for a fleet.  You could then have doctorines to give it situational purpose.  Like Enemy of green, invasion force, defensive. The admiral will the refit the fleet as nessary you can stil send them out whenever you want but if you want to switch from defensive to green invasion force it might take 5 turns at a ship yard to complete the refit.