An idea to keep Experimentation "interesting" and more balanced


#1

So I started the “Consider making Banking payout progressive” as a means of making that tech “interesting” in later parts of the game … and that thread has become a generic tech discussion with lots of good ideas from various people.

As a reminder, the “problem” is that by the mid-game (especially in mega galaxies), the main techs that everyone works on (in order of importance) are Weapons -> Manu -> Terraforming. All the others become quite secondary … especially once you have “enough” (such as in HR).

So while Experimentation is quite useful early on, it rapidly becomes less interesting as players focus on a single tech. And especially when you get a lot of Science, if you get that 1-outa-7 “E” bonus, it’s a BFD, just saving you a few hours of research.

Since “Experimentation” is related to Science (at least by name!), what if “E” also provided a multiplier for your Science tech - i.e. similar to how Manu does for Industry?

I.e. in addition to the “random half your ‘E’ points at Production”, your Science generates more tech the higher your “E” is. I’m thinking something like:
Tech = Science x (E/10) … or maybe Science x ((E-5)/5)) but multiplier not less than 1

So this doesn’t have too much effect early on (especially the 2nd formula), but as the game progresses, E is actually useful as a multiplier to help your tech output.

Obviously this adds to the hyper-inflation problem … but I’m trying to think of some way to keep ALL of the tech “interesting” throughout the game

This would hopefully address Experimentation, progressive Banking would help there, and I’m thinking if we did “Warp Gate Levels”, then Scan & Range would be more useful.

I think NP would be more fun if all techs were better balanced/scalable and the end games weren’t just a Weapons/Manu/Terra-fest.


#2

I agree with making more balanced techs.

I still want to keep the idea of Experimentation reducing Tech Transfer Costs idea out there.

Personally, if we multiplied all the tech costs by 10 (or 5), the base game would still be the same, but this would allow more room for Experimentation to follow Manufacturing’s method. Which is X*(10+Y) where X is number of science facilities and Y is the level of experimentation. Also, easier math. NOTE: This is different from Hulk’s Method. But this would make the method easier to compare.

Mathematical Proof Base Game is the Same
Tech = Science X (E/10)
10* Tech = 10* [Science X (E/10)]
10* Tech = Science X 10(E/10)
10* Tech = Science X E

Now, HULK also wants a formula that this doesn’t kick in until the multiplier is greater than 1. Unfortunately, this would be rather confusing to implement and explain. If the base multiplier is 1, and E is additive. Then you get this formula.

Tech = Science X (1+E/5)
Tech = Science+ Science*(E/5)
5* Tech = 5*[Science+Science*(E/5)]
5* Tech = 5Science + 5Science*(E/5)
5* Tech = 5Science + EScience
5* Tech = Science * (5+E)

Which is the same as Manufacturing’s formula!

The new number could be 10 or any, really. I feel that Tech should increase by a number greater than the base Science Facility Output. So if the base Science Per Day is 10. The starting Science Per Day is 11. Base Tech should be multiplied by at least 11.


#3

Hey Guys, see my post in the other thread.

I think I am leaning away from techs that manipulate the games core economy and mechanics, and instead become “gates” that unlock the ability to grow.

These gate techs should remain important for as long as you are growing. I hope interesting decisions would have to be made about which axis you would like to be growing on, and therefore which technologies are a priority.


#4

The immediate problem I see with the “gates” system is that there’s no advantage to researching anything other than Weapons, as you don’t need to care about any of the limits if you never build any of your own stuff. Weapons is already the best tech by miles, and I think this change would just make it even more powerful.

…Hmm, unless the “gates” didn’t limit how much stuff you could build, but just how much stuff you could run. So you could have a cap of 10 Economy, say, but then build a load of it and have a total of 18 or whatever scattered around your empire- but when production happened, unless you’d increased your cap only 10 of them would actually produce any money. This works for Science too. The tricky thing here is with industry- which ones are active? It could be done in the order that they were built/acquired, but I think it would make more sense to have them activated in order of distance from your homeworld… so if you had a cap of 25, but had 26 points in total, one of the ones on your most distant world wouldn’t produce anything.

I think this would be a good way of limiting the effectiveness of a Weapons-only research model, because unless you planned before the attack you wouldn’t be able to utilise the stuff you’d just conquered- and, in the case of industry, it’s likely to be the newly-conquered front line worlds which don’t produce anything. Of course you could temporarily abandon some planets at the back of your empire to bring yourself below your caps and get the front line producing ships…


Consider making Banking payout progressive
#5

Hey guys,

I have been thinking about this heaps for the last 3 weeks and I think I have come around to like the idea of linking Banking and Exp to Economy and Science in the same way Manufacturing is linked to Industry.

I have been worried about inflation but if its a problem we can increase the rate at which the cost of things grow in the game to counter it.

Special thanks to HULK who keeps raising the issue with good examples, and of course everybody who has be contributing to the discussion.

Here are my ideas built on your ideas, please let me know what you think.


For Banking I think we could simply say each point of economy produces $10 a day + $1 for each level of Banking Technology. So for example at Banking 5 each Economy is producing $15 , and Banking 10 - $20 and at banking 20 - $30.

It’s not super exciting at the start of the game, but you are going to want it eventually. Perhaps $2 per level?


For Experimentation it would be nice to keep the bonus in a random technology, but if we make the bonus something like 10% of your Science * Exp , after Level 10 the random bonus becomes bigger than your active research.

Perhaps each science facility can simply produce 24 research point per day (hourly). Then on production you get 1 research point per science per level of EXP tech in your active tech AND 1 point per science per level EXP tech in a random tech. (Effectively (24 + (2 * EXP) * Science)

So when you have 10 Total Science and Level 5 Exp you get 240 research points a day hourly. On production you get 50 on your active topic and 50 in a random topic.

If you had 10 Science and Level 20 Exp you get 240 a day hourly and 200 on active and 200 random at production…

Again we could adjust the cost of research or make science more expensive if we felt players were unlocking tech to fast with these added research points.


For Manufacturing there has got to be a simpler way to describe how it works. Right now, at level, 1 a point of industry produces 6 ships a day or 1 ship every 4 hours.

Perhaps the wording should be “Each Industry produces 5 ships a day, + 1 for each level of Manufacturing”


We’ll probably want to make sure each tech modifies each Infrastructure about the same amount. So If at level 6 Man you are creating twice the ships of level 1, you should probably be making about twice the amount of cash and research points a day for level 6 Banking and Exp. Perhaps this should be stretched out some more…

    - Banking = ($10 + ($2 * BNK)) * Total ECONOMY
    - Experimentation = (24rp + (2.4rp * EXP)) * Total SCIENCE
    - Manufacturing = (5s + (1s * MAN)) * Total INDUSTRY

Anyhow… thats where I’m at now. would love your feedback.


#6

That’s a new, big and bold move, and I’m not going to lie, I’m not sure. It seems like a lot of hassle for what could be a simple change. My game plan will now how to change quite dramatically, it seems like Experimentation is going to suck with the random bonuses in the short game. We’ll see how it plays before I make my final judgement.


#7

As for now, the Banking favoured those without many Economy, however, if both - the oppressor and victim had the same Banking, the effect would be sort of negated.

Now if we remove the flat amount and move it to affect Economy, it will only deepen the gap between the “above” and “under” players. But then, that’s what the Manufacturing does too already anyways.

The Manufacturing always boosted those with more Industry, so I think we might actually want that to happen with Banking(ECON) and Experimentation(SCI) as well, as this game is about conquering others.

In games I am in now I have**

SCI   EXP |  real gain       ; Exp yield (random field)  |
178   12  |  178/h, 4272/day ; 864 Exp    | Experimentation is not significant
12    3   |  12/h,  288/day  ; 216 Exp    | Exp. presents a significant yield

your suggestion given the real values

SCI   EXP |  your suggestion ; Exp yield (selected + random field)  |
178   12  |  178/h, 4272/day ; 1068rp + 1068rp  |  not helpful, but doesn't hurt
12    3   |  12/h,  288/day  ; 18rp + 18rp      |  not helpful* at all, does hurt
  • *I didn’t want to use the word useless, but it is.
  • **EXP levels are actually estimated from other tech levels as in fact I despise Experimentation in later game completely and somehow focus it exclusively in early game.
    My actual REAL SCI to EXP values are 178 to 5 and 12 to 4, which makes it 2.8% in late game and 33% in early game.

This changed mechanics might in turn introduce new tactics, which will be very interesting.
Focus cash production? Focus ship production? Focus research? - cool


#8

WRT Banking: I like that idea as it is pretty simple … and off the top of my head, I think Econ produces $10 PLUS $1 for every level of banking sounds reasonable … can always tweak if need be. Again, the whole idea is to keep that tech scalable/interesting.

WRT Experimentation: Ummmm … that’s pretty interesting and also a good simple to understand concept. Again off the top of my head (Qwerty, as typical, has some excellent analysis), I would say you need to boost the reward for the random tech - perhaps just leave it as-is - i.e. 1/2 your Exp points … since this auto-adjusts in case Exp is cheap/expensive/etc. But again, this sounds promising in terms of keeping the tech scalable/interesting.

WRT Manu: Seems fine as-is … you are just proposing a wording change.

WRT Terraforming: I REALLY like Qwerty’s suggestion in the other thread that keeps the “good” stars “good” and crappy stars not-so-good.

I agree with him that having decision choices is a good thing so it doesn’t turn into a Weapons-fest.


#9

I agree with Hulk, seems simple enough, and the symmetry puts everything on a more even keel. It doesn’t introduce the balance between expanding and contracting empires, however, that Jay’s previous idea of capacity limits did. But that would have been a big change, and would have upset many apple carts.

Jay, is terraforming headed to the ash heap?

wrt inflation, I think the scanning limit on trading is having a huge impact on keeping individual players from running away with it. You can’t survive unless you are part of a well-functioning group, at least in the large games. And teammates have to share in carving up AFK or they won’t stay teammates for long. In the 64 I’m in 2 teams are running away to be sure, but both are roughly balanced and the end game will no doubt be fierce. Better balance among the techs will reinforce the need to keep the teams together longer.


#10

I like the Banking proposal. Qwerty is right about Experimentation not being right just yet, but maybe it is simply needing a significant boost. I do like that you would get points in what you are researching, as often as not, your researchers would be experimenting in the field they are supposed to be studying.

Hi, I’m a Weapons Specialist, and I work all day on making better laser beams for our war effort. You’ll never guess what I discovered yesterday! I discovered Macroeconomics! It will dramatically improve our Banking tech! Don’t ask me how I discovered that by supercharging my laser capacitors before discharge though, it is a mystery!

I still think the way to limit Income inflation and the impact of Terraforming for the players that worry about it is to play smaller star count maps and make things expensive. As long as everyone has the potential to scale at the same rate, it isn’t a problem.


#11

As others above, the banking seems a logical and simple way of doing this. Experimentation, I’m not so sure about.


#12

@Brian_Flowers You should definitely check this - suggested changes to terraforming.

This approach reduces the inflation by 30%!
(calculated as difference of economy totals on 5 stars with base resources 50,40,30,20,10)


#13

I looked at it when you first posted it, but didn’t quite wrap my head around it. I guess I would need to apply it to one of my calculation spreadsheets to get a better idea of it at work. While I generally don’t have an issue with inflation, I agree though that good stars should be fought over.

I go back to my previous assertion: Small games with expensive settings is the perfect counter to hyperinflation.

For example, in the 8 player small (16stars/player) dark game LDG created and several of us from the team game are in, after 23 days, Terra is only at level 10. Infrastructure has been expensive almost the whole game, and only the two lead players ever broke 100 for Econ.


#14

I think the smaller games are just much more fun than larger games. I think people generally like the idea of very big games, but i think the smaller games just work better.

@Qwerty in the game where you have 178 sci, what is your weapons tech? Would the EXP bonus still be useless if those values were swapped around?

@wfmcgillicuddy At the moment, yes, I think Terra is on the chopping block. If we decide to keep it we will implement @Qwerty’s suggestion but I’m not convinced we need the tech at all.

I think a Terraforming that just pushes the price of everything down overlaps conceptually with banking which provides you more money.

I’ve also been enjoying the 64 player game I am in with trade limited to scanning. Its kind of interesting that you are doing ok in your little circle, but then a neighbour disappears and all of the sudden there is a new enemy with better tech.


#15

I agree that chopping Terraforming is a good thing to do. Sadly, because @Qwerty’s suggestion is excellent. But my suggestion is: don’t remove it, just make non-Terraforming games the default, by making default the option to disallow it’s research.

I believe many players will be angry (at least for a while) without Terraforming. They love the game the way it is, so I don’t see why to take that away from them, when you can only make that an option.

I have some ideas to improve the other techs, but I think it is much easier if we focus on the real problem, and that is Weapons. This being a conquest game, of course the main military tech is always more important than any other. I can’t figure out a way to reduce Weapon’s power and keep the rules simple at the same time. So, what I think should be done is: “chop” Weapons, the same way Terra should be “chopped”. Manufacturing will become the most important tech, but Manufacturing is already a lower-power version of Weapons.


#16

I think a big mistake to cut TF - Qwerty’s suggestion is great … consider implementing!

I’ve said for a while that all the mega-galaxy games turn into a Weapons-fest … but I think the addition of Expensive tech can help address that at game creation.

I.e. with the current parameters and using just the tools available, I’d try to balance by making Weapons Crazy Expensive, and Menu/TF expensive.

Ditto what Jay said that big games are kinda cool, but the small games (knife fights) are really a blast … plus they get done a lot quicker. Ironically, I haven’t played one for a while … so maybe after the Dark Spiral is done (and summer vacations are over), I’ll give one a shot.


#17

Haha, you know I have never thought about it before, but this is not completely crazy you know. One of the most difficult concepts to teach, and one of the things I like least about the game is that you need a calculator to work out who will win a combat.

If we could simply say the player with the most forces wins I think it would be much clearer and more obvious.

We would then need some kind of defenses mechanic to prevent the tank rush, but you know what, we could have a static defense infrastructure that just adds to your forces when defending. A shield kind of thing. Or a minefield that destroys X incoming ships.


Ideas about defense
#18

Make the minefield/shield a very cheap infrastructure.
Just thinking out loud… Level one is automatic, so you still get a defenders bonus, but each level increases it’s effectiveness. Maybe the Base level takes out 5-10% of the enemies. You can buy each additional percent up to 50% max. Maybe the price goes up each 10%. Per level cost- Upgrade to from level 5 to 10 at $1, 11-20 at $2, 21-30 at $3, 31-40 at $4 and 41-50 at $5. All prices could be tweaked. Defense infrastructure cut in half with each attack and must be rebuilt. Completely destroyed when star is lost, and new owner must start again with automatic base amount.


#19

Yeah, I think thats kind of interesting… First level free, then more expensive as you build more…

But I think this is one area of the game where we do want them to be less effective as the game progresses so that they are quite good at the start of the game when folks are just building up and forming alliances and working things out, but are not nearly effective near the mid to late game where we want players who have played well and are in the lead to be able to take out the smaller players without the game dragging.

To do that I would make the defenses scale linearly, while ship production is scaling much faster.

So level 1 defenses could be 10 ships, level 2 defenses 20 ships, level 3 defenses 30 ships… that kind of thing.


#20

I still pine for carrier experience. Perhaps it would be even more valuable in the context of no weps tech. It would reward both successful offense and successful defense, and be more dynamic than fixed defenses.

I would also be a little wary of incentivizing a defensive/turtling strategy. That might slow gameplay a bit.

Ditto the battle calc comment. Damned thing seems not to work as well after cocktail hour!