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Acharis

Relation between mines & factories

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I had this "great" idea of having mines that exctract minerals and factories that make goods in my game. After implementing it I noticed it sux :) The thing is you need an EXACT ratio of mines to factories (since factories use minerals to make goods) which is super boring and annoying. The player just tries to keep the ideal ratio without making any decisions, it's just an additional chore.

 

Ideas how to fix it?

 

Actually, I'm not so sure it's even possible to fix...

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So, the way it is now, mines -> minerals which go into factories -> goods? What if there were several uses for minerals (instead of just one), and the Player has access to a slider or something that determines how quickly that thing gets done? Like a pie chart with each slive being a different facet (consumer goods, military equipment, research equipment, etc)

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So, the way it is now, mines -> minerals which go into factories -> goods? What if there were several uses for minerals (instead of just one), and the Player has access to a slider or something that determines how quickly that thing gets done? Like a pie chart with each slive being a different facet (consumer goods, military equipment, research equipment, etc)

Yes, mines -> minerals which go into factories -> goods.

 

Different uses of minerals... hmm... But how exactly?

"consumer goods, military equipment, research equipment, etc" - but isn't that on the factory side? I mean X factories need Y minerals but what these factories produce is not connected to minerals, it's the factory that decides it. Right?

 

But, yeah, I like the concept of different uses for minerals (at this point I like almost any concept since basically everything is better than what I have now :D)

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It could have a type of point to quality construction.

 

Say you have 3 factories. For it to make A quality stuff, it needs at least 300 points of wood. 200-299 is B quality. 100 - 199 is C quality. Anything under 100, just doesn't get made until you get more materials. So you need to make sure you have enough mines but you're not worried about ratio, just quantity.

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I like the idea that factories determine how much you can produce and mines determine the quality of production. Gold has some amazing properties that make it great for a lot of industrial uses, but it's too expensive to actually use in most cases. If you are low on mines, the factories are going to have to use inferior substitute materials, or just skimp on quantity and build thin hulls. If you've got excess mines, the engineers are unconstrained from material cost considerations.

 

If you order a starship built the materials will be acquired, but the citizenry of your planets aren't emperors, so they might be affected by mineral shortages more severely. Goods cost more, it's harder to start new businesses, etc. So mining excess/shortage could also be vented off into the economy or empire happiness rather than leaving factories idle.

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In VGA Planets (yes, I brought it up yet again), mines harvest resources, and factories produce supplies.

Even after a planet is dead dried of resources, it can still produce supplies, which means you can still leverage the population as workforce.

I think it's clever as it means even 'dead rocks' with good growth potential are worth your attention to get supplies, whereas harsh planets with fewer inhabitants need to focus on mining alone.

In the end, each planet has its own use (mining, supplies, taxes, military outpost, refueling station, starbase, etc.)

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It could have a type of point to quality construction.

 

Say you have 3 factories. For it to make A quality stuff, it needs at least 300 points of wood. 200-299 is B quality. 100 - 199 is C quality. Anything under 100, just doesn't get made until you get more materials. So you need to make sure you have enough mines but you're not worried about ratio, just quantity.

I don't understand... Write this down with numbers maybe?

 

Like: you have 5 factories and 3 mines, each mine extracts 1 unit of minerals, each factory requires 1 unit of minerals, therefore 2 factories are idle (that's how it works now). So, 3 units of manufacturing productions are made per turn.

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In VGA Planets (yes, I brought it up yet again), mines harvest resources, and factories produce supplies.

Even after a planet is dead dried of resources, it can still produce supplies, which means you can still leverage the population as workforce.

I think it's clever as it means even 'dead rocks' with good growth potential are worth your attention to get supplies, whereas harsh planets with fewer inhabitants need to focus on mining alone.

In the end, each planet has its own use (mining, supplies, taxes, military outpost, refueling station, starbase, etc.)

Hmm, an interesting dynanmic, so factories are not needed to make ships? Ships are instantly constructed via resources+taxes as the currency? And factories make supplies (I assume supplies are some sort of "upkeep currency" for ships?)

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You could include a trade off between efficiency and overall output. Starcraft 2 does this well with it's workers and minerals, 2 workers per mineral patch has each worker mining at their full potential. Adding a third worker to a mineral patch is like having 2.5 workers instead of 2 or 3. Extra workers gives more output per mineral patch, but less output per worker.

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I don't understand... Write this down with numbers maybe?

Like: you have 5 factories and 3 mines, each mine extracts 1 unit of minerals, each factory requires 1 unit of minerals, therefore 2 factories are idle (that's how it works now). So, 3 units of manufacturing productions are made per turn.

 

Going with your example, let's say that each mine has 170,450 units of wood. You send out miners and each miner can procure 1 to 5 units of wood. So the factories are now receiving their units of wood. Then you can set the production rate. Every 300 units produce something, Every 200 units produce something. Or Every 100 units produce something. But the number of units determine the quality of the product. You can spread out how the wood is distributed as well. So all 3 mines supply all 5 factories. Or all 3 mines supply only 3 factories. Or any other combination.

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I had this "great" idea of having mines that exctract minerals and factories that make goods in my game.

 

 

 

So you can place a mine on a goldmine and then it'll start extracting the gold resource at a certain rate? Then you have a factory that makes some product that uses gold? I'm assuming this is some kind of RTS?

 

The thing I would say is that this aspect doesn't really need to be that exciting does it? I mean the end product is what people would be excited about right? For example in Age Of Empires you put workers on a goldmine and forget about them until the mine is used up, but it's the things you can make/buy with that gold that really matters.

 

However, what you can do is somehow limit how many mines they can have collecting certain resources or something like that. You have to make them make a decision on what resources they need and not let them just be able to collect all resources at all times. Now they have to think about this process. Maybe you do this with some kind of energy source that can run only so many mines or something like that.

 

Limitations is what makes life & games interesting. If we always got everything we wanted then it becomes boring, but having to work around limitations makes us use our brains more and be creative and make unique decisions. You need to create some kind of limitation around these mines to limit things.

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So you can place a mine on a goldmine and then it'll start extracting the gold resource at a certain rate? Then you have a factory that makes some product that uses gold? I'm assuming this is some kind of RTS?

It's 4X. You have planets and construct infrastructure (mines & factories). There are no workers, mines do not "extract" anything in a physical sense (just a number of mines). There is just a global "mines output per turn" and it's compared with "factories minerals usage per turn", if the minerals are above or equal than the factories need everything is all right, if below some factories are idle/have lower production output.

 

What is troubling is that you ALWAYS want an IDEAL ratio of mines to factories. So it's a boring adjusting of sliders without any decisions (you ALWAYS want 1 mine per 1 factory, since that's the most optimal combination).

Edited by Acharis

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Can you stockpile resources?

 

Lets say I'm consuming 10 units per turn from factories, but producing 12 from mines.

 

do I retain +2 resources per turn in some sort of reserve?

 

If that's the case, I could make enough mines for getting +20 per turn, and eventually build a bunch of factories to burn off the reserve I've saved up.

 

In that case there would be no "ideal" number, because it serves as insurance in case you lose mines, or a temporary boost to production.

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Can you stockpile resources?

In the current model, no.

Also I'm not so fond of this, it would require displaying these resources on interface, and it has more drastic consequences (you don't see the shortage coming if you are not careful, just one turn you get your production suddenly halved because you used up your reserves and your current mines capacity can meet only 50% of needs), also it is not within the mood of the game (you being the emperor and not dealing with logistics). A lot of drawbacks, for this particular game at least.

Edited by Acharis

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Probably factories could work on alternative resource which is everywhere but less effective.1 mine gives 5 materials, no mine gives 1 material (producing meat from... soybeans... you know :))

 

Or something like "diversification" (not sure about the word) but that is when military factory producing civil engineering - machines, toys, etc.

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So you can place a mine on a goldmine and then it'll start extracting the gold resource at a certain rate? Then you have a factory that makes some product that uses gold? I'm assuming this is some kind of RTS?

It's 4X. You have planets and construct infrastructure (mines & factories). There are no workers, mines do not "extract" anything in a physical sense (just a number of mines). There is just a global "mines output per turn" and it's compared with "factories minerals usage per turn", if the minerals are above or equal than the factories need everything is all right, if below some factories are idle/have lower production output.

 

What is troubling is that you ALWAYS want an IDEAL ratio of mines to factories. So it's a boring adjusting of sliders without any decisions (you ALWAYS want 1 mine per 1 factory, since that's the most optimal combination).

 

 

 

OK, so I can just slide the mine option to have 10 global mines and it'll produce x resources. Then I can just slid the factories option to have 10 global factories to consume those resources. It seems to simplistic to it's own demise I guess. This is generally why games are more complex. I feel that without adding limitations it's just doomed to be boring. You should always have more factories building a diverse set of things from resources than you have resources. So somehow you would want to limit mines. Maybe you have different kinds of mines and you can only have so many mines total. That way you have to focus on what resources do you want the most of and others you don't need so much of. This would determine what factories you want to what things you want made.

 

For example say player A, makes 3 gold mines and 1 silver mine, but player B makes 3 silver mines and 1 gold mine. Now the factories they pick would generally reflect this decision too but you'd always want something that requires a lot of both resources so no matter what the player will have to wait some time to make that big thing. The player who picks 2 gold and 2 silver can make that big thing faster, but they make the smaller things slower. Some kind of limitations and having the player make options makes it more interesting. They are then forming a strategy and that's more entertaining.

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In VGA Planets (yes, I brought it up yet again), mines harvest resources, and factories produce supplies.

Even after a planet is dead dried of resources, it can still produce supplies, which means you can still leverage the population as workforce.

I think it's clever as it means even 'dead rocks' with good growth potential are worth your attention to get supplies, whereas harsh planets with fewer inhabitants need to focus on mining alone.

In the end, each planet has its own use (mining, supplies, taxes, military outpost, refueling station, starbase, etc.)

Hmm, an interesting dynanmic, so factories are not needed to make ships? Ships are instantly constructed via resources+taxes as the currency? And factories make supplies (I assume supplies are some sort of "upkeep currency" for ships?)

 

 

The economy system is a bit complex, but essentially, supplies are good for a few things:

- Constructing factories (which generates more supplies)

- Constructing mines (which generates resources for ships)

- Sold for $

 

Resources and $ are useful for ships, so indirectly, factories play a large role, but directly, they do not inherently produce a resource that is a key aspect of this relationship.

In fact, the player's decision is always the same:

... Do I use my supplies to:

- Build more factories, which grants me a better industrial power which I can later turn for a lot more mines

- Build more mines, which grants me short-term resources increase

- Sell for cash, which grants me immediate money (with no added bonus in the future)

 

If you have a new planet and only few factories, the answer is most likely to increase factories quickly so that it has an industry, unless this is a dead rock with very few resources that you want to mine dry with a minimal investment.

 

Usually:

- Dead rock: few factories, few mines. After a while, you'll end up selling supplies for cash, or send supplies to other planets anyway.

- Big dead rock: more factories, still few mines. Chances are you end up selling supplies for cash to add up to your taxes gains.

- Rich rock: some factories (to speed up industrialization of mines) and as many mines as you can afford

- Big Rich Rock: many factories, many mines. After some factories are already there, split production between mines and factories as needed to balance between immediate and future gains

 

Now I really want to play a VGA Planets game!!

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It seems to simplistic to it's own demise I guess. This is generally why games are more complex. I feel that without adding limitations it's just doomed to be boring. You should always have more factories building a diverse set of things from resources than you have resources. So somehow you would want to limit mines. Maybe you have different kinds of mines and you can only have so many mines total. That way you have to focus on what resources do you want the most of and others you don't need so much of. This would determine what factories you want to what things you want made.
Yeah... Maybe something along the lines: factories produce light products (no minerals needed) and heavy products (minerals needed)? Like, the factories that do not have their share of minerals produce industrial goods and heavy purposed factories make ships? Or some sort of slider where you decide between light/heavy production but the heavy is limited by resources?

 


Now I really want to play a VGA Planets game!!
:D

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If you dont want to manually turn sliders of mines to match factory use of minerals, just do automatic just in time production.

Have a minimal stash of resources (enough for a minimal fixed number of turns of factory input to cover the refill+transport time) and have the mines only work as much as to fill the immediate demand (free places in the minimal stash): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanban

Edited by wintertime

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The best resources system I've seen is in Total Annihilation and its Unofficial Sequel Supreme Commander. You had an income rate based on the number of mines ( let's say 120 metal per second) and your factories used a max of say.. 60/second. If you had 4 factories running, they'd all still run, but at a lower output. With 4, you have a max expenditure of 240/second. So all of your factories would run at 50% speed.

 

The games were real-time strategy though, but it could still be applied to TBS.

 

The best part of this kind of system was that you didn't need to micromanage your factories and could focus on expansion/warfare. You could set a factory to repeat it's build production. If you noticed that production was slow, you could either pause some or go build more mines to speed them up.

 

I've noticed the majority of games still run things the old style way. You "buy" your units. You have to manually select 1 unit to build at a time, paying for it before hand with each click. If you can queue them up, there's not a repeat option - and you can't set something to build unless you already have the resources. If you don't pay attention to your possibly large number of factories, they'll just sit there building nothing until you realize it.

 

Even if you keep the 1-to-1 ratio and switch to a style like this, factories would still be more interesting. 5 mines 10 factories, you're running at 50%. Maybe that's fine because it's faster to build your units 50% slower and not have to make them trek across the map to their intended destination - it's easier to build them on-site. Also requires less micromanagement again. You don't need to personally control where your new units are stationed.

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conquestor3, on 08 Oct 2015 - 1:42 PM, said:
Can you stockpile resources?
In the current model, no.

 


The best resources system I've seen is in Total Annihilation and its Unofficial Sequel Supreme Commander. You had an income rate based on the number of mines ( let's say 120 metal per second) and your factories used a max of say.. 60/second. If you had 4 factories running, they'd all still run, but at a lower output. With 4, you have a max expenditure of 240/second. So all of your factories would run at 50% speed.

 

the extra "layer" of a stockpile between mines and factories is what you're missing. that's probably what makes the model you're currently using overly simplistic and therefore boring.  

 

try this:

all mine output goes to an empire wide global stockpile. all factory output is based on their share from the stockpile.  if stockpile is 100, and mines require 10 per turn  for 100% output, and you have 10 mines - 10 mines times 10 units per mine = 100 units = your stockpile:  perfect!   if your stockpile is 50 units this turn and you have 10 factories active, output of all is at 50% rate, and so on. and of course you can close unneeded factories - thereby reducing labor costs. this is the high level way to do it, with a global stockpile. the low level way, you get into modeling the logistics of moving resources to factories, each with its own stockpile - a place i'm sure you don't want to go! <g>. so the player can go along happily building mines and factories until they over expand production capacity. then they can just build more mines (possibly requiring further expansion) or close/demolish/abandon some existing factories. it would be the type of thing you'd only need to check on every dozen turns or so: "how are my production levels looking?  87% - not bad. maybe build a couple more mines somehwere...".

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I like the idea of factories producing whether or not mines are present, but the mines-to-factories ratio changes something else.  Like, you might have it that factories can either make things out of metals or bioplastics.  Mines aren't strictly speaking necessary, but using bioplastics cuts into food production a bit (you're making plastics out of the things that you'd otherwise be growing population with), and any ship built with bioplastic instead of metal has a very weak armor rating.  If your factories are using 75% bioplastics, then 75% of new ships will be flimsy (albeit nimble) instead of armored bruisers.

 

The downsides of mines, however, is that heavy mining planets are often barren -- or quickly become that way! -- and the population grows slowly and tends to max out small.  

 

So production continues apace whether or not you have mines, and the emperor has to choose the ratio between two tradeoffs: a higher ratio of weak ships and a bit less food, or the maintenance of little mining colonies that won't amount to much except to be little mining colonies.

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it would be the type of thing you'd only need to check on every dozen turns or so: "how are my production levels looking? 87% - not bad. maybe build a couple more mines somehwere...".
But that's how it works now, and it's not so exciting :( I mean, it made wish for a button "always build additional mine if minerals availability is below 100%", if there was one I would use, as a player.

 


I like the idea of factories producing whether or not mines are present, but the mines-to-factories ratio changes something else. Like, you might have it that factories can either make things out of metals or bioplastics. Mines aren't strictly speaking necessary, but using bioplastics cuts into food production a bit (you're making plastics out of the things that you'd otherwise be growing population with), and any ship built with bioplastic instead of metal has a very weak armor rating. If your factories are using 75% bioplastics, then 75% of new ships will be flimsy (albeit nimble) instead of armored bruisers.
Yes... I feel something along the lines might be the only way. I mean, mines should be somewhat connected to factories, but not in a trivial 1:1 efficiency boost.

 

The problem with ships quality is that I would need to keep track what quality of ship was upon construction date, which is impossible due to other mechanics (ships are tracked as whole stacks rather than idividual entities). OK, maybe I lied a bit, I have these tracked separately but the whole intereface is stacks based so the player won't be able to see this "quality of materials used for a particular ship" thing.

One way I see it working is comparing the CURRENT minerals availibility and determine the current ships quality, which honestly, does not make much sense from realism point of view :D

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Assuming that ships come in various classes (that is, a stack has 2000 scouts, 150 bombers, etc., rather than just a mass of completely undifferentiated "ships"), you could do the difference with ship classes.  Any ship can be made out of metal, but only lighter and smaller ship types can be made out of bioplastics.

 

The fewer mines you have, the fewer heavy-class ships your factories will turn out.  So you can always skimp on mining, but it has a consequence for your fleet composition.  A plastic-based empire will have a ton of little fighters and few battleships.

 

(Actually, this would be a good thing to have a few tech trees nodes about.  At the start of the game you can only build plastic scouts and fighters, but there are a few materials-research nodes that allow the possibility of increasingly "heavy" ships made out of plastic, up to a plastic battleship.  But even then, the really big ships still have to be metal, as a bonus for people who keep mining going until the end.)

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it made wish for a button "always build additional mine if minerals availability is below 100%"

 

auto-manage mines option.

 

games like CIV and Total War do that kind of stuff all the time.  Sounds like one of those choices (build mine: yes/no?) that's not really much of a choice at all, because the correct choice is always obvious (only build if factories are short on raw materials).  or build factory: yes/no? only when you have extra raw materials. same idea.  such trivial decisions are good candidates for auto-management, assuming your code does a decent job of auto-managing them.  Bad auto-management or auto-management that can't be sufficiently tailored to the player's needs is almost worse than no auto-management, due to the frustration factor of a "broken" feature that could have been a valuable enhancement to gameplay.

 

sometimes you simulate something and it just turns out that by nature its kind of boring.    manually micro-managing mine/factory construction ratios might be one of those things, unless perhaps you're some sort of obsessive-compulsive efficiency freak: "yes, My Lord Emperor! I can proudly report that every last clod of dirt form every mine on every planet in the entire Empire is being used by a factory, and no factory is going clod-less!" <g>.

 

BTW, stockpiles might still be nice, what if there's a miner's strike? Takes time to send Imperial troops to put down a thing like that.... <g>.

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