Sign in to follow this  
Acharis

Research system idea

Recommended Posts

Acharis    5979

I got this idea:

 

There are several fields (computers, energy, constructions, chemistry, etc). Your research points are divided between these.

 

BUT, you can't set percentages (like in older 4X games), since that was not working too well (it was always best to always put 100% in one field and then swich after it reached the "next level"). Instead you can only say which field is Primary (50%) and which is Secondary (20%), all the remaining fields would get like 5% each.

 

 

Questions:

- the usual, what you think, if it would work, if you can refine it, etc, etc

- I'm also worried, wouldn't such system make you switch the Primary/Secondary marker all the time to optimize the research (like mark as primary a non focused field when it get sufficient res.points accumulate to quickly finish it)?

- I'm especially open on the Primary/Secondary marker part (I just need it so the player can not focus 100% on one field, but it could be done different way I suppose)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thaumaturge    3831

Hmm... What about giving research paths a "momentum" value? This value would increase the longer a given path is assigned as "primary" (or increase at a rate proportional to the path's assigned percentage), and would reset to zero when one switches paths. The "momentum" value of a path would act as a multiplier for research: given two paths, each with an assigned percentage of one hundred percent, but one with a higher "momentum", the path with the higher "momentum" would progress the more quickly. Thus it becomes profitable to stick with a research path rather than chopping and changing.

 

However, I feel that it's also worth asking: what result are you aiming for in this mechanic? Are you trying to give players incentive to stick with a research path (as my above suggestion assumes), or something else? Additionally, why do you want to discourage the behaviour of assigning all of one's research points into one field, then switching when that reaches its next level?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acharis    5979

However, I feel that it's also worth asking: what result are you aiming for in this mechanic? Are you trying to give players incentive to stick with a research path (as my above suggestion assumes), or something else? Additionally, why do you want to discourage the behaviour of assigning all of one's research points into one field, then switching when that reaches its next level?

No... it's not like that... How to put it...

 

I don't care how the player uses it, my ONLY concern is micromanagement (the player being forced to jump around and adjust these over and over again in order of maximum efficiency).

 

why do you want to discourage the behaviour of assigning all of one's research points into one field

Well, it's obviously the optimal strategy smile.png If there is such option the player would do it (that's why the precentage system of Master of Orion 1 went extinct ages ago).

You remember the system? You had 100% to distribute and you set 30% to energy, 5% to constructions, 12% to computers, etc. Eventually you got smarter and always set 100% to exactly one field (total focus) since it yelds the fastest result in the end (less res.points tied up in "research in progress").

 

I was trying to "fix" it, to make a system where *each* field of research is progressing at least very slowly (some players like it, it has also some nice gameplay repercussions, like you will eventually reach "Sociology level 3" by the end of the game even if you never invested anything in sociology) yet you have a decision which should progress faster.

 

I have also seen a "fixed" systems where each field could not go below 5% (so you were not able to set these fully freely). But it was still annoying.

Edited by Acharis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Khaiy    2148

What about Master of Orion IIs system? You could only research one thing at a time, but if you tried to tech up evenly across all the different fields you're almost guaranteed to lose on anything but the easiest difficulty level. And for most species builds you can only choose one technology from each field per level to research at all, so while you can choose the order of research you can never have everything. Pax Imperia II had a percentage allocation system, and I very rarely put all 100% into a single field because it's a worse option than a mix. 

 

The system you're describing, as I understand it, sounds really restrictive to me, and for not much of a reason. I don't think it would be a game breaker for me, but it would be annoying. What is the gameplay value of forcing me to research something I don't really want, even just a little, versus specialization? I would rather see a system that makes "total focus" impractical or suboptimal than one that forces me to play in a way that I don't want to, to no purpose other than satisfying the developer's arbitrary preference. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unduli    2498

I think people's strategy depends on how you implemented research points, if it is "diminishing returns" people try to optimize somehow by distributing, if "increasing returns" they choose one tech, if linear they do as they please.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acharis    5979


I always found it frustrating to be limited to researching one topic at a time even if I have the research points to study a dozen low level techs. Especially as I might be concentrating on one or two things but still need all the other techs to have a decent empire.
Yeah, exactly. It's so annoying sometimes. I do want to focus *all* my efforts on weapons since that's my priority but at the same time I would like to designate some secondary research field, it should progress much slower but still it should progress. It's also way more realistic...

 


I like that research will progress whether or not the Emperor is personally involved. Private companies are going to want mass drivers and immortality vaccines and lots of other things; it's just that without your funding, research will go more slowly and not necessarily reflect your strategic priorities. But you can plunk down a big grant program (pay immediately) or maybe a bounty (pay at discovery), and researchers across the empire will scramble to discover what you've specified.
Hmmm, an interesting reasoning. Science is done by various universities, individual inventors, mad scientists, corporations research labs, and you as the Emperor can simply "boost" some field of research.

 

Pax Imperia II had a percentage allocation system, and I very rarely put all 100% into a single field because it's a worse option than a mix.
It does not make sense to me from mathgematical point of view (of course I don't deny players not always do what's optimal or mathematically correct :D)

Assuming you need 10 turns to research some tech:

If you spend 5 turns researching weapons and got it half done and 5 turns on propulsion and get it half done you still have nothing at the moment. If you spend 10 turns on weapons and 0 on propulsion you already have one working weapon tech (and you can start destroying the enemy now). In 20 turns you would get both weapons and propulsion tech no matter which route you went, but with 100% focus you get first benefits at turn 10 (instead of turn 20). Therefore 100% focus is clearly superior strategy, always, no exceptions.

 

to no purpose other than satisfying the developer's arbitrary preference
Thanks for reminding about it, I have dictatorial design tendencies :) Will try to keep it in mind.

 


Honestly, no--I don't really play strategy games, to be honest (hence my so seldom posting in your threads). ^^;
:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Khaiy    2148


It does not make sense to me from mathgematical point of view (of course I don't deny players not always do what's optimal or mathematically correct )
Assuming you need 10 turns to research some tech:
If you spend 5 turns researching weapons and got it half done and 5 turns on propulsion and get it half done you still have nothing at the moment. If you spend 10 turns on weapons and 0 on propulsion you already have one working weapon tech (and you can start destroying the enemy now). In 20 turns you would get both weapons and propulsion tech no matter which route you went, but with 100% focus you get first benefits at turn 10 (instead of turn 20). Therefore 100% focus is clearly superior strategy, always, no exceptions.

 

Not really. I could see that being the case if all techs at a given level take the same amount of time to research, have zero cost to deploy, and produce instant benefits, but that doesn't come up too often. A game where you can assign research percentages but it is always a mistake to do so is one that has a poorly designed research tree.

 

I really like valrus' suggestion if you want to get away from that system altogether. Having research priorities like in the OP feels to me like a nerfed version of the research system you don't like, but valrus' is a new system that shouldn't chafe people who don't mind the "old", standard way for research in a 4x.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AoS    935

Well the most obvious thing is to not have discreet tech levels. So your tech becomes better even with one research point. To assuage roleplayers you could simply declare that you research better and better engine X, and at Y spot that research coalesces into engine Z. So if you research half and half you gain a benefit not on turn 10 but on turn 1, and at turn 20 you have learned to make a totally new engine type, and a totally new laser type, or maybe one takes 25 turns to represent a totally new invention. You can rationalize this as an abstraction, especially since standard tech trees are nonsensical and abstract anyways and generally represent the average time to a discovery, since in real science you advance in fits and starts and not linearly as in most videogames.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Orymus3    18822


Instead you can only say which field is Primary (50%) and which is Secondary (20%), all the remaining fields would get like 5% each.

 

I like that actually. It means you're "nudging" scientists in a general direction without actually stopping all research. Makes sense to me, and still have the fun "I could get something researched I'm not actively focusing on as a goodie sometime in the next few turns" feel.

 

I can picture myself favoring offense (50%) almost all the time (new weapons, etc.) and keeping 20% on defensive upgrades for example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jefferytitan    2523

Consider real-world science. Putting 100% effort into one field may simply be ineffective, e.g. a discovery in one field removes a road-block in a related field. You could have some dependencies, e.g. you can't get past 72% in field A unless you have at least 50% in field B or 63% in field C. Another possibility is considering the universities that underpin science. If all your research is into energy weapons, nobody will take biology classes, so when you switch to biology you're handicapped for some time. This would give the option of keeping a baseline level in various fields, writing off whole fields, or strategically capturing a planet which is good at biology to aid your new science goal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
valrus    2238

 or strategically capturing a planet which is good at biology to aid your new science goal.

 

It would be funny, admirably minimalist, and not entirely unrealistic if this were the great conqueror's ONLY way of setting a research agenda!

 

So here's an entirely different system than the one I sketched earlier.  Your research window shows you what's possible in a given field, but you can't do anything about the relative percentages.  (Okay, maybe you can put some extra investment in that will slowly grow your field-specific capacity, or something like that, but you can't just give the order "Attention all physicists!  80% of you are now biologists, and 20% are now archaeologists!  Now, back to work!")  The primary input you have on the research agenda is just conquering planets.  Different planets provide research points in different fields, and if your long-range plan is max out Biology, then the good biotech planets should be top-priority conquests.

 

This system has some nice properties as well: you can't micromanage it, and players are free to ignore it, but if a player does pay attention, it enriches one of the core game choices ("Do I invade this planet or this one or...?") 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acharis    5979

BTW, if you are interested how it turned out, check this screenshot:

https://www.facebook.com/PocketSpaceEmpire/photos/a.1518291948449273.1073741828.1518285091783292/1570895763188891/?type=1&theater

 

I went for fields having set fixed types of priorities (Primary, Secondary or Minimum). You can have one Primary and one Secondary (also if you decide to have no priorities you will have all divided equally (20% for each of 5 fields).

 

I'm kind not sure about the wording, "Minimum" sounds kind of incorrect...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DifferentName    1371

Doesn't this have the same problem you originally described? It's still optimal to switch priorities as soon as a tech finishes, unless you want to continue on the current tech path. When the primary tech completes, you would want to switch the secondary tech to primary, so it gets finished sooner instead of those research points being tied up.

 

Momentum described earlier makes a lot of sense for research, and would combine well with dividing research between different types of tech. If the government encourages scientists to dedicate their lives to energy science, they'll have that momentum, and it would take time to switch scientific efforts to another field. It also eliminates the incentive of frequently switching tech paths.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
valrus    2238

I went for fields having set fixed types of priorities (Primary, Secondary or Minimum). You can have one Primary and one Secondary (also if you decide to have no priorities you will have all divided equally (20% for each of 5 fields).

 
As an interface suggestion, priorities might be more easily expressed by letting the user order a list.  (Like having them drag and drop things to rearrange, or having up/down buttons on each field.)  The 

 

So like:

 

=========================================

Priority | Pts | Field                  |

=========================================

High     | 73  | Energy       (up/down) |

Medium   | 54  | Construction (up/down) |

Low      | 27  | Sociology    (up/down) |
Low      | 27  | Chemistry    (up/down) |
Low      | 27  | Electronics  (up/down) |
=========================================
 
(So to make Construction high priority and Energy medium priority, you just hit "up" on construction.)
 
This takes away the ability to have everything "low priority", but it also takes makes immediately clear the ordering and makes the impossible state (multiple Highs, multiple Mediums) impossible in the interface.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acharis    5979


Doesn't this have the same problem you originally described? It's still optimal to switch priorities as soon as a tech finishes, unless you want to continue on the current tech path. When the primary tech completes, you would want to switch the secondary tech to primary, so it gets finished sooner instead of those research points being tied up.
Not exactly. The key being you can't set 100% to one research. Which means, if you want to go for as many weapons as fast as possible you would set Weapons to Primary (50%) and do not switch back no matter what. Anyway, sure we could debate if players would or would not switch back here, but at least now it's debatable :D Plus... it feels right now (to me and Orymus at least).

 


Momentum described earlier makes a lot of sense for research
I don't like it as a player :D I don't know, maybe it makes sense from a design point of view, but for me as a player it's too confusing and not strightforward.

 


As an interface suggestion, priorities might be more easily expressed by letting the user order a list. (Like having them drag and drop things to rearrange, or having up/down buttons on each field.)
Yeah... I was thinking about it too and have doubts. First, there won't be just up/down buttons, players/testers *WILL* force me to add buttons like Top/Up/Down/Bottom :) I can bet on it :) So it won't be as clean as you have shown in the example (it feels to me like managing admin panel to add subboards on some forum software :D). Second, it means more clicks (even with Top/Bottom buttons added), to do what you want. Third, it sounds less thematic/descriptive, I mean now it feels like "The Emperor says that you lousy scientists  shall focus primarily on Construction, since he wants the imperial palace upgraded and wants it inventions, and as a secondary priority you should focus on Electronics because the imperial courtess says TV has not enough channels and space distortions mess up with the soap opera she watches. Do it or be reassigned to scrubbing proton reactors!". I don't know, to me it feels more "Imperish" than up/down...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this