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Abstract planetary infrastructure/industry

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In this 4X game the focus is on high level Emperor things, you don't build stuff on planets manually (and you control like 200 of these planets), everything (rare exceptions) is built automatically based on your high level orders (edicts, setting specialization of planet, etc) and the type of planet (a desert planet would not attempt to upgrade agriculture). So, the player controls all this indirectly.

 

Important assumptions of this topic:

- civilian infrstructure only (ignore military, it's handled separately by a different subsystem)

- it's a "hands off" system, note the player has no direct way to tell "built me X next"

- no "regions" or "groups of planets" please, it siomply does not fit the rest of the game

- there should be some sort of soft/hard cap/dimishing result (a planet can "produce" effectively a number of "things", so you need more than one planet, or at least make it so if the population & infrastructure was spread between several planets their overal output would be higher than if all these were on one planet)

 

 

Question:

How to make this abstract planetary system? One that takes into account agriculture, industry, mining, administrative, services, etc sectors, the population (workers), size of the planet (can't build 1,000,000 industry on one planet). One where you have a rich economy, makes you want to have many planets and you see naturally specializing planets.

 

 

Example solutions/thoughts:

I have a feeling a best system here might be an abstract "level of development of [SECTOR HERE]". Or maybe something more detailed like made of 2 variables: the number of "buildings" and the "tech level". Like you have 20 factories and thier average tech level is 3, these require 1000 workers (if less still works but with a penalty) and produce Y stuff.

Next there should be some "increased cost of erecting new infrstructure" based on the number of infrastructure that already exists (agriculture+industry+mining sectors).

I don't know... Help me sort this out :)

 

 

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I would start by figuring out what exactly you want the system to do:

 

- What is the purpose of this subsystem in relation to the rest of the game?

- What kind of challenge is it supposed to pose to the player?

- What kind of feelings is it supposed to invoke in the player?

 

Establishing what you want to accomplish with it is a big help in designing how it is supposed to work.

 

Say for example I want to make a generic system that isn't supposed to occupy the player's mind much, it would just be planets with numbers saying "planet size" "population" "money output" that provides the player with a cash flow.

 

If it is supposed to involve the player and challenge the player to choose which planets to invest in, there should be a method for players to pump money into the planets and choices to be made in terms of effectiveness that do not have clear answers.

 

If I want to system to say something, maybe about war needs industry but how an industry will sicken a population, I'd have planetary development be a constant choice between balancing population die-off with industrial development, accentuated by text updates on the state of each planet's populations and their lives.

 

If I want to say the same thing but in a darkly humorous way, I would have the text messages be darkly funny (Yay oh Emperor thank you for your new edict that kills only 8 out of 10 children instead of 9) and have the most effective development strategy also be the most horrific one.

 

 

So, what is your system supposed to do?

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DieselRay is right these questions need to be answered in the first place.

 

Nevertheless regarding your question:

There was many years ago a game called Birth of the Ferderation. I think althoug the economy system there is planet based it can be a good basis for your planetray system regarding resource deviation. It should be not so difficult to set an abstraction layer on theirs system so that the player don't have to deal with the single planets.

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Hmmm.. just an expansion of your idea:

1. You have different sectors (mil, agr, mining ...)

2. Each sector has a empire wide tech-level.

3. You have an empire wide resource, e.g. skilled-workers (derived from the education level and population of your empire).

4. Each sector have a capacity, based on the number of according planets.

5. The productivity of a certain sector is defined by capacity and assigned skilled-workers and the according tech-level.

 

Why ?

First off, if you gain more planets, you will increase your productivity by simply adding more planets. This will although increase the population and therefor the number of skilled workers. The player has the choice to either invest into certain tech-levels, to invest into education, shift the skilled-worker around, or to gain more planets. Lot of choices :-)

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I would start by figuring out what exactly you want the system to do:

- What is the purpose of this subsystem in relation to the rest of the game?
- What kind of challenge is it supposed to pose to the player?
- What kind of feelings is it supposed to invoke in the player?

Good point.

 

Overall goals:

- no micromanagement; that's the primary uqique point of the game, I basicly sacrifaced the detailed manual advancement of planets (which is cool on it's own) to reduce micro

- feeling of the "empire being too big for the emperor to handle", corrupted govornors and other bureaucrats who are frequently incompetent that run these planets

- each planet being a small ecosystem (socially and politically, to an extend) with possible local organizations a slightly different culture/views

 

Gameplay purpose:

- planets should become worth more over time, without the player's investment (the longer you keep the planet the more infrastructure & benefits it has)

- planets are the source of food to fed the population (empire wide, it's not handled on a planetary level), the player need to acquire planets that are capable of doing it (not just mineral rich ones)

- non fertile planets are the source of minerals (mines) or platform for industry (factories) which are needed to make ships

- planets are house for population (population being important), you need more planets if you want more population (and you do want more population)

- there are no "overextending" penalties, the player is encouraged to more planets (with dimishing returns after reaching 200 planets)

- IMORTANT planets should have some stats that can be affected by other effects/events/choices like "10 random planets get 'Communication Center' or +1 to existing 'Communication Center'" or "Technologists organisation/guild emerged on 3 random planets" or "All desert planets get Shelter or 1 free water tank". Note it never affects a single planet.

Edited by Acharis

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Issuing these high level controls to the systems  might be something like Orders to each system :

 

A production type

or

A primary production type and a secondary prodtype -- first is satisfied then second if possible with resource limitations

 

also an 'expand'  for capacity type of Order -  game will self-order necessary resources to +1 the resource generating object (just a count on the system)

 

 

I assume various productions have 'formulas' /recipes of what combination of resource  is needed to produce 1 prodtype  and the player will adjust ratios and develop territory to increase capacity for needed production

 

How does your transport work  to get the needed raw resource to manufacturing centers and that production of then on to consumers?  

1)Distance based delays (requires more ships for constant flow over greater distances - and bigger empire can have increasing distances) 

2)Instantaneous   - one ship does turn around for 1 load per 'turn'

Assuming no micro manage here and some auto mechanism will try to satisfy the needed transport  (with some way to prioritize that if the ships themselves are one of the 'resource' factors and there arent enough)

 

 

 

 

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How does your transport work to get the needed raw resource to manufacturing centers and that production of then on to consumers?
Magic :) Transport is ignored, a central stockpile model, the game does not track where each resource is, it's always "in the imperial stockpile".

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If you are going abstract and you already have a maximum production limit, you might simply want...

 

Morale

Population

Planet Size

Each of the basic resources

Planet Type Bonuses

 

 

Morale would be used to determine production efficiency.  If there is a fight over a planet morale drops, if a fleet is parked there for protection it goes up a a higher than normal rate.  A small fixed rate of morale.  Morale max would be 100% - happy planet, and go down to at least 0% - riots and unrest.

 

Population is just how many (x1000?) peoples are on the given planet.  Also sets maximum production of total resources.

 

Planet size would be used to set a maximum population.  Tiny 600,000, Small 800,000, Medium 1,000,000, Large 1,200.000, Giant 1,400,000.  The more population you have the more you can make.  At 67% (roughly 2/3 employment) production maximums would be 402,000 - 536,000 - 670,000 - 804,000 - 938,000.

 

Then you need to decide on your resources.  Simple example...

 

Fuels, Energy, Food, Metals, and Industrials.

 

Then you set up Planet Type bonuses.

Earthlike = Food

Desert = Energy

Rocky = Metals

Gaseous = Fuels

 

Each bonus is fixated at 1.5x normal production.

 

So with that all taken care of we get a example...

 

 

Small earthlike planet with 1000 population at 100% morale.

 

1000 x 67% (two thirds of the population employed)  670 total resource units.

With the five resources each should get 20% of the points normally and the food would get an additional 1.5x multiplier.

Energy = 134

Metals = 134

Fuels = 134

Industrials = 134

Food = 134 x 1.5 = 201

 

-

 

Giant desert planet with 100,000 population and 50% morale.

 

100,000 x 67% = 67,000 x 50% = 33500

Desert multiplier is energy 1.5x

Energy = 6700 x 1.5 = 10050

Metals = 6700

Fuels = 6700

Food = 6700

Industrials = 6700

 

---

 

With this in mind the most important next step is to decide on what resources will be used in the game.  What purpose those resources will serve?  How you will create those?

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Gameplay purpose:
- planets should become worth more over time, without the player's investment (the longer you keep the planet the more infrastructure & benefits it has)
- planets are the source of food to fed the population (empire wide, it's not handled on a planetary level), the player need to acquire planets that are capable of doing it (not just mineral rich ones)
- non fertile planets are the source of minerals (mines) or platform for industry (factories) which are needed to make ships
- planets are house for population (population being important), you need more planets if you want more population (and you do want more population)
- there are no "overextending" penalties, the player is encouraged to more planets (with dimishing returns after reaching 200 planets)
- IMORTANT planets should have some stats that can be affected by other effects/events/choices like "10 random planets get 'Communication Center' or +1 to existing 'Communication Center'" or "Technologists organisation/guild emerged on 3 random planets" or "All desert planets get Shelter or 1 free water tank". Note it never affects a single planet.

 

ok, so your doing some high level modeling of an economic system.

 

your inputs to the model are player commands/edicts/directions to advisers/staff - high level stuff, not "build item x on planet y".

 

your outputs are:

planets  - worth more over time - you mean tax revenue? or innate value due to natural resources, and existing infrastructure? is money produced per planet an output of the economy model?

2. food produced

3. minerals produced

what else?

 

so the player will issue an edict, the economy model will use variables such as those described by TheRelic (pop, tech level, morale, etc) and spit out production numbers for each planet, which would add to your global empire-wide resource pools - since you're not modeling supply rules / resource distribution logistics (like resource transport units in a RTS game).

 

as author, you'll know what the variables affecting the economy model should be, and what its outputs should be. this should lead to obvious choices for possible edicts.

 

so step 1, figure out the outputs the model should produce: food produced per planet per turn, revenue produced, minerals produced, etc - whatever you think they should be, based on what you already model in the game.  if your resources are basically money, food, and minerals, then those should probably be the three outputs for example.

 

step 2: figure out the variables that should affect the outputs (population etc).

 

step 3 come up with the rules / formulas of how variables affect outputs.

 

step 4: implement in code, playtest, and tweak model as needed.

 

you'll find yourself applying this same basic methodology for every feature you model in the game universe. what are my desired inputs, what are my desired outputs, what variables should affect it? ok, what rules or formulas will make it behave the way i want? so that i get the desired output for a given input and set of affecting variables for all cases of interest.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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What part of this game IS micromanaged (its what 4X games are generally about) ?

 

This is all just ideas - but what I am suggesting below is there usually needs to be some balance in 'level of detail' for all the different objects/things/elements the player gets to manipulate in the game (versus what all happens automagically).   They are usually interrelated in many ways.

 

If you simplify the economics too much -  to the point the player might only really be selecting military targets or even areas for acquisition (or denying to their enemies)  - where with the simplified economic game mechanics you could have what might be  tedious balancing done so easily the program might as well do it (including make decisions about what to produce where).  And then the  player decides and just says MORE FOOD (or its even obvious that food is a predecessor to whatever final (tactically interesting) products  are built  that that too could just be automaticly controlled as well)   Too simple without significance just turns into tedious....

 

Too simple  AND there are no real specific military goals/targets (just grab generic territory) - having no significance of locality  (maybe only vulerable border areas vs safer core area - ALL depending on the rest of the game mechanics) - no tactical importance (and virtually no decisions for the player)  - just the overall strategy of having enough (and excess) for maintaining and growth of the empire - building piles of units  instead of game pieces with their own significance (tactically interesting).     

 

Yes, you can simplify the economics, to maximize the attention the player gives game elements of ships and military forces - but those ARE used to act upon the economic elements/targets (acquiring and protecting).  IF one target is as good as another, that  makes planning localized defense irrelevant (simple blanketing strategy).

 

 

That brings up political actions in the Empire  - as in what affect/interactions/orders  does that part of the game have the player do ?

Maintaining control of the territory so that the economuic resources can flow, etc...   Do most miltary units just turn into garrisons to maintain control ?    Whatever  entity is the factor that maintains that control - how complicated is THAT part of the game (and then how all does it interrelate to the economics?   DO Military units of higher detail now just babysit simplistic local areas ?

 

Politics linked to economics - problems/difficulties resulting in unrest/etc...      These things are interweaved  (and the 'edicts' to correct things now have to interact with that economic system  -  People are starving and refuse or cannot work  - so edict to Transfer/Grow more food  is the only option ???  ---  Part of these games can also be having options - some of which are  risky&cheap  others  sure&slow&costly.    But such options need a system with sufficient details to have enough different approaches to the solutions to the problems.

 

 

 

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