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azazel Player-Rank: 2 azazel is a male
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Lamp [Balancing] Changing progression of colony module production cost Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

Hi,

actually that started in another thread:
Corruption

but I kinda think it's a slightly different subject and such should get its own thread.

Basically, it seems to me that the colonization phase suffers from a few shortcomings currently:
a) A lot of luck is involved, nowadays more than ever: how good is your system? 4 planets or 6? How many good planets are in your neighborhood? What kind of resources can you easily acquire? How aggressive are your neighbors about colonization? Do you have lots of inactives around you or the top dogs?
b) Having to be offline for any reason for, say, 1 day, is extremely detrimental in this phase. Basically, it makes the difference whether you come out of colonization phase amongst the top 10 or the medium 10. At almost no other point in the game is being gone for a day so bad. The only exception is when an enemy launches a well-planned surprise attack (Rismagi's coup against The Phantom comes to mind as a masterful execution of such an attack). The problem with that is that a galaxy may last multiple weeks, but by a single day offline in the very first few days of it you can basically botch it.
c) Within at least the first 200 turns there's no real war typically - except for taking out inactives which cannot really count as such. OTOH, SC is a war-game.
d) As a result, almost no wars are fought with shuttles and corvettes (Phantom makes the occasional exception).
e) Players not optimizing the colonization phase are at a major disadvantage against such that do. But optimizing that phase has nothing to do with war or strategy. The main ingredients needed are Excel and a lot of time to be online.

I think all these problems could be easily solved by adapting how the production cost for colony modules rises. Right now it rises in a linear fashion, dependent on the number of planets and colony ships an empire owns. That means that the increase of cost between a 5-planet empire and a 10-planet empire is the same as the increase of cost between a 25-planet empire and a 30-planet empire.
If the increase was super-linear, that would mean that the increase of cost between a 25-planet and a 30-planet empire would be significantly higher than the increase between a 5-planet and a 10-planet empire.
How would this address the issues mentioned above?
Simply, by making it markedly more difficult to grow beyond a certain size via colonization.

I have a proposal for a change of the formula used to calculate colony module cost. The formula might not be ideal as this is not quite my specialty, but I trust the folks more inclined to formula construction (Gedrin, Rismagi, Phantom come to mind amongst others) could easily improve on it. Let's just use it as an example.
Right now it's
code:
1:
(planetCount + currentlyActiveColonyModuleCount-1)*100

The proposed new formula is:
code:
1:
e^((planetCount + currentlyActiveColonyModuleCount-1)/5)*60


The current system is more expensive till an empire has 17 planets (about 3 systems). From then on the above formula would be more expensive:
code:
1:
2:
3:
4:
5:
6:
7:
8:
PlanetCount (assuming no ships):Old:New
1:100:73
5:500:163
10:1000:443
15:1500:1200
20:2000:3300
25:2500:8900
30:3000:24000


A typical corvette bomber or fighter costs about 6000 production units, troop ships of that age slightly less. If you consider that in that age most empires have little PD and little stationed military, you can safely assume that a fleet of 10 bombers and 10 fighters and N troopships can take about N planets. If you look at the above table, it's clearly the more economic strategy with the current formula to colonize as long as you can find empty planets. With the new formula, it would not be such a clear-cut decision.

What would this serve?
a) People would go to war sooner.
b) Shuttles and corvettes would be more than just colonization and scouting devices
c) Players not having had initial success with colonization (because they were offline a day or because they started in a worse area or because they simply are not the Excel-types) would stand a bigger chance of finding colonizable planets for a much longer time.

What do you guys think?

Cheers,
Azazel

This post has been edited 1 time(s), it was last edited by azazel: 25.01.2009 15:08.

25.01.2009 15:05 azazel is offline Send an Email to azazel Search for Posts by azazel Add azazel to your Buddy List
Rismagi Player-Rank: 3 Rismagi is a male
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RE: [Balancing] Changing progression of colony module production cost Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

Luck is a part of the game (a). Corvettes is the best military transports, not only colony ships and scouts(?). I agree with you on the rest.

At the same time I wouldn't limit discussion only on changing colony module cost. Probably there are other ways to make wars at early stage (25-200) more attractive.
25.01.2009 19:14 Rismagi is offline Send an Email to Rismagi Search for Posts by Rismagi Add Rismagi to your Buddy List
DarkLStrike Player-Rank: 3
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Rismagi, good strategy and tactics games always try to minimize the influence of luck.

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Erwin [CS] Player-Rank: 2 Erwin [CS] is a male
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Colony ships becoming exponentially more expensive as opposed to linearly (as it is currently the case) will clearly force you to go to war earlier, once you reached a certain size. So I can't see a reason not to do that (even though I am a fan of simple formulas... but if it helps the cause?).
25.01.2009 19:44 Erwin [CS] is offline Search for Posts by Erwin [CS] Add Erwin [CS] to your Buddy List
Karakzon Player-Rank: 1 Karakzon is a male
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I have to agre on this score Smile
Although, its going to be even more nerve racking when i try find out who im sat next to...

Couldnt we sometime find a way of making your lvl influence were you are on the gal map?

ie, the strongest strategic players end up more in the middle with each other insted of,ie one time like me, getting surrounded by around 3 or four players that exceed my caliber at this game.

Not that im against fighting better people, since you want to improve.
But this would mean that it would be less luck, in the generation of players and their planets were influenced by their levels to make it a fair spread. This probably should be in sugestions, ill add a thread their if its not already been said, just made me think. luck.

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25.01.2009 19:59 Karakzon is offline Send an Email to Karakzon Search for Posts by Karakzon Add Karakzon to your Buddy List
Nongolf Player-Rank: 3 Nongolf is a male
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On luck and player drop:
I tried before to get out of Erwin how the players are placed in the galaxies, whether it mattes, for example, when you sign up (early or late). I guess it's a secret or perhaps it got lost in the heaps on Erwin's table.

In any case, I personally prefer games with as little luck as at all possible. Primarily because I hate poor loosers going 'Psh! It was all luck!'. Even worse if I know I won due to luck.
What's a victory if it's grounded in luck? To me, it's simply not.
That's one of the things I like about this game; the math contains no random factors.

As it stands, though, luck is involved when it comes to player drops. Now, since the galaxies have a pre-defined number of players, why not set up a number of similar systems equal to the number of players.
Each system would have, say 5 planets. That alone would be a big improvement. Add to that a little math involving the quality of the planets in the system, and you'll have all but eliminated luck in the player drop.

On Initial Colonization:

Some of the problems azazel mentions (b & e) would be alleviated when the colony admiral gets implemented. Just saying. Smile

On New Module Cost:
I'm not sure why it's necessarily a good thing to force players to go to war earlier, but I can't see why it would be a bad idea either.
Guess I don't feel strongly either way.

@Karakzon
Interesting notion about placing better players together in the middle. Not quite sure where to stand on the matter yet, but interesting.
25.01.2009 20:32 Nongolf is offline Send an Email to Nongolf Search for Posts by Nongolf Add Nongolf to your Buddy List
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I very much agree with azazel on all his points, and I think the new formula is worth trying. It could even things out, dampening the effect of someone getting a little bit ahead in the beginning due to the factors discussed and that compounding itself into a greater and greater lead over competitors, as can so often happen. People would be forced into the push-pull of conflict earlier on, which livens up the game, and those having an easy time with expansion won't be able to get away with it for as long and simply remain in the background.

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Meh, I don't care either way... it only changes the way I will play a bit, nothing else. There will still be big gaps from the big guys to the small guys.

By the way, it doesn't matter if I start in a poor or good system, or who my neighbours are, I will excel, it is called adapting your strategy to your circumstances.

I remember one game, having a 4 planet system, and 0 empty systems around me, and I finished the game 2nd. I decided after I scouted near my not to colonize at all, and go directly to taking people out, and it worked.

In all, I like having some variability, because then it makes the game to game scenarios too exact, when right now the variables of quality of system and quantity of systems around you/inactives are all variables you have to deal with and excel at no matter what the circumstances are. I mean, me, Rismagi, and others are like ALWAYS near the top, and we have played countless galaxies, don't you guys think we have had scenarios where we have 4 planet systems and no empty systems near us? We still excel, may be a bit harder or different but we manage to find a way, it is one of the challenges of the game, and I would not want that to be removed.

Just so you know NonGolf, the size of the galaxies expand as the number of players incease(hense why there are sometimes some re-shuffles) prior to the game. Usually the galaxies are 2 system/player or around that ratio, and the home system formula tries its best to put you in a system where there are at least 3 empty systems surrounding yours. So some attention is put into that by the way.

As for the colony ship formula, I guess it will keep me from going to 35 to 40 planets and have to stop it shorter at around 25 or so... I guess in that circumstance I'll just use conquer ships instead for extra. As for early war vs later war... I think some of that is due to the extra time to get planets up to their full potential and get the whole moth ball industry actually running, more than the colonization phase of the game. Perhaps a way to speed up that portion of the game up, would be to research a new "Automated Farm" which would add +60% per auto farm to your planet. Probably put the research topic around where Mining or something.

So I am not for or against this idea, I am meh....

This post has been edited 1 time(s), it was last edited by The Phantom: 25.01.2009 23:17.

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Nongolf Player-Rank: 3 Nongolf is a male
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The Phantom:
quote:
Just so you know NonGolf, the size of the galaxies expand as the number of players incease(hense why there are sometimes some re-shuffles) prior to the game. Usually the galaxies are 2 system/player or around that ratio, and the home system formula tries its best to put you in a system where there are at least 3 empty systems surrounding yours. So some attention is put into that by the way.


I see, I didn't know that. Thanks Big Grin
I guess that makes my point pretty much... pointless? Thanks Again! Mad
26.01.2009 03:25 Nongolf is offline Send an Email to Nongolf Search for Posts by Nongolf Add Nongolf to your Buddy List
azazel Player-Rank: 2 azazel is a male
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Thread Starter Thread Started by azazel
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Just to get the discussion back on track: the main argument was not luck. That was just one of many.

Basically, with the exponential cost there's a better chance to compensate for problems in the colonization phase, there's a higher chance for earlier war, and thus I'd expect more mixed beginnings, more variety in how people cope with the first 200 turns.

Cheers,
Azazel

PS: It might be interesting to have the new formula in place for XP9, unless anyone is strictly against it...
27.01.2009 00:41 azazel is offline Send an Email to azazel Search for Posts by azazel Add azazel to your Buddy List
disguy Player-Rank: 2
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I think that main point of your original thread is true to a certain extent.

When you miss a day or perhaps 2 in the first 2-3 days of game time your done BUT this is an online game. If you don't put the time in don't expect the results. Do you know how many games I play where the same players are inactive? Its because they can't make the time to play the game.


I've been working really hard at xp8 to get ahead and with a little luck (1 maybe 2 system expansion of my neighbors and no big dawgs in the gal) and some new stradegies I'm ahead of the curve.

Don't get me wrong I'm not nearly as experienced as most of the players here but I figured out a way to expand quickly. If I can hold on to that lead is another story.
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the game will be better when custome gals come in, because then we can finaly set times that would be convinient.

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27.01.2009 18:42 Karakzon is offline Send an Email to Karakzon Search for Posts by Karakzon Add Karakzon to your Buddy List
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