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Old September 24th, 2007, 08:44 PM
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Default Infinitech Mod Starting

Well, started rather, but it's a mixture of old ideas I had for a Space Empires IV mod that never got finished. All things considered, SEIV just didn't do what I wanted it to. For the most part, SEV does. I have the framework laid out, cultures, societies, racial abilities, vehicle types, sector types, quadrant types, and some of the other crap done. So now I'm going to talk about features and want some good idea/bad idea critique while I get this working.

I should also mention that, first, it's going to be datafiles and completely redo pretty much everything. Afterwards, I'm going to work on ship sets (I need to learn to be better at 3D art anyway) and much better artificial idiots (this is going to take the longest, yes, but I do have ideas).

Main Features

Loads of Tech - The main idea is to make every tech area deeply researchable, like 200 levels or so. Because these branch out into other things, the idea of ever researching every last thing in the game is an impossibility. Though most modules will have a specific technology that changes its overall level, other technologies will give things various bonuses. Think like a Heat Ray that improves by level but gets a damage bonus from Thermodynamics.

Vehicle Sizes - The smallest is a Sloop at 200 kT. The biggest, aside from bases, is a World Ship at 22,500 kT. These get bonuses to their kT based on your levels of Naval Architecture. They also receive bonuses or penalties to defense, depending on size. World Ships are nearly impossible to miss, while Corvettes are rather hard. Small ships also get a maneuverability bonus to hit, while bigger ships receive no penalty.

^^ - Every ship size is available from the beginning. However, being able to afford the biggest ones is another thing entirely. I want them to take decades to build for a young empire or have the upkeep be cripplingly huge. This also ties in with my idea of making every ship size useful for the entire game, as a horde of Frigates would have trouble doing appreciable damage to a World Ship, while the World Ship would have oodles of trouble hitting the Frigates with its massive weapons.

Mount Modifications - Rather than straight and even bonuses to damage and size, the damage increases faster than the size. The biggest mount gets a 7,500% bonus to damage but is only %3,750 bigger. However, it gets a -105 chance to hit. This allows the truly ridiculously huge weapons to be as ridiculously huge and unwieldy as they should be.

Infrastructure - This is the hardest one to implement. The idea is, you get bonuses or penalties to all sorts of things depending on what you built in your empire and on what size of planets. I haven't quite gotten everything nailed down 100%, but this should make expanding too quickly too early a bad idea, as you end up losing tons of production potential. Also, the maximum population of a planet is HEAVILY influenced by what was built on it, with habitation modules available for increasing that specifically. The idea is that only small numbers of people can carve out a subsistence living on an undeveloped planet, while a developed planet can support more people. All the while, the percentage of your planets you have space ports on as well as the number of them gives general bonuses.

Facilities - All sorts of new stuff, including Orbital Facilities that are just like their regular counterparts but only take like 5 kT of space. Of course, there are some things that can't be orbital while other things are better either in the orbit or on the ground. There are also city-type facilities that are big but allow for huge population numbers as well as giving the planet special bonuses. These also change your infrastructure and other stuff. There will also be various types of Capital modules (like GalCiv) that are available one per system or one per empire that give bonuses to stuff. The Imperial-level ones, for instance, grant a small bonus to the entire empire but a big one to the planet it is currently on. Also, one idea I like is being able to play without ever colonizing other planets.

Specialized Crews - Though every ship does require that pesky first unit of Regular Crew, different types of crew are available. These also open up other types of modules as well as other types of crews. For example, Officers gives access to the Admiral's Quarters, which both give nice ship bonuses. The Admiral also gives bonuses to the whole fleet or sector (depending on which works). Meanwhile, some Scientists opens up nifty lab-type modules with various effects. Obviously, small ships will be largely crewed by regulars while bigger ones have all sorts of people working on them. Lastly, there will also be a Skeleton Crew type of module that can run small ships though not exactly well. They negate the use of specialists.

Modules Require Crew - Though I've seen other ways of doing this that seem a bit clunky to me, I imaging giving modules a negative Amount 1 should do the trick. This also circumvents the problem of destroyed modules still requiring crew.

Specialized Societies and Governments - These can drastically alter what your race does, as the effects of some choices have been radically altered from stock SEV. The idea is that different societies think and behave differently, while different types of government are conducive to different types of people. For example, Nomads migrate like crazy and have a low reproduction rate, while Industrialists have resource bonuses but overworked, unhappy people. Dictatorships have happiness problems but are more tolerant to war and more loyal, while government in Anarchic empires is prone to serious loyalty problems but free and jubilant.

Colonies Don't Do Much - Freshly colonized planets don't produce much of anything. However, they can eventually become as good as your homeworld. I like the ideas behind the old Proportions Mod, but I think that colonies should have potential when invested in. Of course, if supporting a monolith build around a planet supported by planets covered in tents is your thing then go for it. Anyway...in the end, if you want to develop another planet extensively, the possibility is certainly there.

More Drastic Cultural Stuff - Some of the cultural research areas have penalties in return for the bonuses you give them. The idea is that drastic change to a culture should come with drawbacks. Though artistic appreciation is a direct bonus, things like sports encouragement give various bonuses but cause your people to eat more. Meanwhile, Asceticism will make them eat less and be more loyal but less happy.

QnP - I LOVE the idea of Quasi-Newtonian Propulsion and am stealing it. However, I'm planning on just altering the engine size to change with the tonnage of the ship. If that doesn't work, I'm going with the 1 point per engine, points per move depending on ship size. However, adding 225 engines to a World Ship just to get one point would be needlessly tedious.

Unlimited Speed - An empire that has spent a million research points developing its engines has every right to have Corvettes with a move of 80. That's all I'm saying. Aside from that, some of the high-end engines get ridiculous.

Comments

I'm obviously going for complexity on this one. I'm planning for a simpler version later, as well as a mod version based on Heighliners from Dune. More on those later, but y'know.

I imagine this will change a lot as it progresses and I'll release v0.1 as soon as I humanly can. But, in the mean time, do you think good ideas/bad ideas?
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Old September 24th, 2007, 09:13 PM
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Default Re: Infinitech Mod Starting

Quote:
MrToxin said:
QnP - I LOVE the idea of Quasi-Newtonian Propulsion and am stealing it. However, I'm planning on just altering the engine size to change with the tonnage of the ship. If that doesn't work, I'm going with the 1 point per engine, points per move depending on ship size. However, adding 225 engines to a World Ship just to get one point would be needlessly tedious
That scheme is called mQNP. (QNP, implemented using mounts in SE4)

All you really need are scaled engines, 2kt engines that provide 1 speed, 20kt engines that provide 10 speed, 200kt engines that provide 100 speed...
Pick the one that works best for your current design.
Perhaps a single big engine and a cluster of smaller ones depending on your aesthetic tastes.

Quote:
Mount Modifications - Rather than straight and even bonuses to damage and size, the damage increases faster than the size. The biggest mount gets a 7,500% bonus to damage but is only %3,750 bigger. However, it gets a -105 chance to hit. This allows the truly ridiculously huge weapons to be as ridiculously huge and unwieldy as they should be.
Be careful with to-hit modifiers. The additive nature makes it really easy to end up with 99% or 1%.

BTW, if you want it to look better I'd go with NOT using mounts, but have separate components. That way the animations can scale with the size of the weapon and you have more control over the details.

EG: http://imagemodserver.mine.nu/other/...e-o-vision.jpg
You can see some 20mm lasers being used as point defense in the bottom left, 40mm and 60mm lasers going back and forth against ships, and a big blue 100mm artillery laser coming down on the left.
Note: size & power is proportional to caliber squared there.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Infinitech Mod Starting

Quote:
Suicide Junkie said:BTW, if you want it to look better I'd go with NOT using mounts, but have separate components. That way the animations can scale with the size of the weapon and you have more control over the details.
Actually, that's a fine idea. Then make the mounts for other types of mods, like point defense or something...neat!

Anyway...I do want things that are 99%/1% chance to hit. I'd like for it to be impossible for the slowest, heaviest weapons to hit tiny, fast ships. Makes things more interesting, I think, as you need to consider your ship designs; as in, do I mount one of the biggest weapon possible, one big and three smalls, or a bunch of tiny weapons?

The engines are something I'm still working on...just scaling them is something I'd prefer to avoid but we'll see how other stuff works out.

edit: Other Crap I Forgot to Post

No starting Colonization technologies and cheaper Colonization technologies. Fact is, a race knows how to live on its own world through experience. Other worlds are a bit problematic. This also branches into stuff like Xenobiology and what have you.

Small space stations. As in a 500 kT Platform if you don't want to build anything mega huge or just want a little orbital weapon gadget or whatever.

Better defensive stuff for planets. I want building a MegaFortress of a world to be not only thinkable but possible. Think ways to enhance your Cargo Space enough to get downright enormous weapon platforms going.

Customized aliens. Well, to start with, I'm going to rename all of the basic game's empires (including the neutral ones) and give them all different histories and attitudes and that sort of thing. When I finally get around to doing the AI, I want them all to have distinct strategies and personalities. We'll see how successful I am with THAT minefield.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 05:33 AM

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Default Re: Infinitech Mod Starting

MrToxin said:
Loads of Tech - The main idea is to make every tech area deeply researchable, like 200 levels or so. Because these branch out into other things, the idea of ever researching every last thing in the game is an impossibility. Though most modules will have a specific technology that changes its overall level, other technologies will give things various bonuses. Think like a Heat Ray that improves by level but gets a damage bonus from Thermodynamics.


Nice idea but having lots of levels plus lots of cross-tech bonuses means that testing your mod for balance is going to be almost impossible. There are some areas that lend themselves to steady progression (weapons, shields, hulls) so focusing on these and limiting cross-tech to new devices only would likely be more manageable.

Vehicle Sizes - The smallest is a Sloop at 200 kT. The biggest, aside from bases, is a World Ship at 22,500 kT. These get bonuses to their kT based on your levels of Naval Architecture. They also receive bonuses or penalties to defense, depending on size. World Ships are nearly impossible to miss, while Corvettes are rather hard. Small ships also get a maneuverability bonus to hit, while bigger ships receive no penalty.

It may be better to require special weapons to damage very large (or very small) ships rather than going by attack/defense bonuses for the reasons given by SJ.

^^ - Every ship size is available from the beginning. However, being able to afford the biggest ones is another thing entirely. I want them to take decades to build for a young empire or have the upkeep be cripplingly huge.

It would make sense to make larger hulls dependent on both Tech Level (e.g. for advanced materials and design) and facilities (orbital ship factories, etc).

Requiring too long a construction time is likely to be counter-productive - who wants to spend decades building a ship that turns out to be 10-15 generations behind on weapons/armour/shields?

Infrastructure - This is the hardest one to implement. The idea is, you get bonuses or penalties to all sorts of things depending on what you built in your empire and on what size of planets.

Maintaining balance is going to be tricky unless you keep this limited to specific technologies (like stock and BM do) and a very few facilities.

Also, the maximum population of a planet is HEAVILY influenced by what was built on it, with habitation modules available for increasing that specifically. The idea is that only small numbers of people can carve out a subsistence living on an undeveloped planet, while a developed planet can support more people.

Having facilities to increase max pop makes sense - but for best effect you would also need to have the option to tie in facility capacity with population size and I don't think that's possible in SEV.

Specialized Crews - Though every ship does require that pesky first unit of Regular Crew, different types of crew are available.

This could be a real micro-management pain if players have to keep pulling ships back to restaff or sending out new crew members all the time to replace losses.

Specialized Societies and Governments - These can drastically alter what your race does, as the effects of some choices have been radically altered from stock SEV.

Being able to vary a choice over time (e.g. moving from a dictatorship to a democracy) would probably be the most obvious improvement but unlikely to be doable within a mod.

Colonies Don't Do Much - Freshly colonized planets don't produce much of anything. However, they can eventually become as good as your homeworld.

Colonies need to be able to produce in order to create defenses if nothing else. Imposing a heavy maintenance cost per colony (making them initially big loss-leaders only able to break even after heavy investment) may be an easier method to slow up things. It would also penalise the colony rush strategy, making players focus on a few good ones rather than go bankrupt with lots of poor ones.

Unlimited Speed - An empire that has spent a million research points developing its engines has every right to have Corvettes with a move of 80.

In that case, I'd suggest counterbalancing high speed with poor maneuverability and greatly increased supply consumption.

I'm obviously going for complexity on this one. I'm planning for a simpler version later, as well as a mod version based on Heighliners from Dune. More on those later, but y'know.

Given all that, I'd suggest you try starting with a simpler version rather than overdoing things and ending up with a mod you can never complete. Look at IRM - the complexity of the AI scripting was what caused the author to pack it in.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 07:29 AM
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Default Re: Infinitech Mod Starting

Quote:
MrToxin said: Loads of Tech - The main idea is to make every tech area deeply researchable, like 200 levels or so. Because these branch out into other things, the idea of ever researching every last thing in the game is an impossibility. Though most modules will have a specific technology that changes its overall level, other technologies will give things various bonuses. Think like a Heat Ray that improves by level but gets a damage bonus from Thermodynamics.
One of the chief criticisms I've seen of SEV is that many tech levels don't give you anything worth researching. (I vaguely recall complaints about needing level 10 of something to build orbital spaceyards? I still don't have SEV to check myself.) Kwok's Balance Mod addresses this, among other things.

Have you looked at PvK's Proportions mod for SEIV? It did a lot of what you propose for making the homeworld much more productive than colonies.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 02:03 PM
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Default Re: Infinitech Mod Starting

Quote:
capnq said:One of the chief criticisms I've seen of SEV is that many tech levels don't give you anything worth researching. (I vaguely recall complaints about needing level 10 of something to build orbital spaceyards? I still don't have SEV to check myself.) Kwok's Balance Mod addresses this, among other things.

Have you looked at PvK's Proportions mod for SEIV? It did a lot of what you propose for making the homeworld much more productive than colonies.
Actually, yes I did look at the Proportions Mod for SEIV and that's where I got some of my ideas from. It's a cool mod and I loved playing it, but I never was keen on the idea of ONLY your homeworld ever being a huge production place. I was more keen on the idea of being able to develop other planets.

The idea is that colonists are trying to make do with a virgin planet in an early colony. Getting an economy up and running while you're trying to build your infrastructure is tough and requires importing nearly everything. The idea isn't necessarily to make colonies expensive to maintain, but instead to have them produce relatively little until they get up and running. With investment and time, they could effectively become second homeworld. Think about, say, Colonial America, when people knew how to make firearms, explosives, and huge masonry buildings, but were living in log cabins, caves, and sod huts, but then were eventually building stone forts, cannons, and then highways and factories.

As for the above population concern, there IS an ability that does that. Planet Maximum Population, it's called, and it calls the sum of every ability that has it. I do believe this will work, but if it turns out to be too hugely micromanagement I might take it out.

As for balancing, I'm going to work some math to make sure it's at least mostly balanced but, all things considered, perfect balance is almost impossible in something complex. I understand that but I'm going for it anyway because that's the direction I want to take. All things considered, I think having some unbalanced things is advantageous. I want a mod where nobody can really stare at it for hours and completely break it, as everything will also have a counter of some sort. Either way, perfect balance isn't what I'm going for. I'd love for people to just go "Oh that looks neat" and spec their empire in what they want.

As for the ability to construct large ships, that's where the infrastructure comes in. Just because you can think "Hey, let's make a ship the size of a moon" doesn't mean you can afford it. Yes, you'll need to develop yourself some before you can crank out a Worldship, but that's the idea. Making a big metal shell is an easy to thing to think of, it's accomplishing it that's hard. Plus, that gives you the option of building these enormous hulks early or waiting for later and sticking to swarms of small ships.

Even so, I'm shying away from the BIGGER = BETTAR idea that Space Empires games tend to lean toward. I'd rather wars be based on what bonuses you have, what you've researched, and how you fit your ships rather than how big you can make things.

Now there's technology...that's one of my biggest gripes with SEV and that's where I ultimately ended up starting. The idea of funny cross-tech things and passive research greatly appeals to me.

Ultimately, I do understand that this is a massive undertaking but the fact is, I don't have much better to do with my time at the moment.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 09:00 PM
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Default Re: Infinitech Mod Starting

I have some recommendations:
- Small amounts of supply generation for all facilities. (So even backwater planets can spare some food & fuel to an occasional stranded ship, but for serious military you need dedicated facilities)
An organics farm should produce more than a mineral miner, but all quite modest values compared to an actual supply factory.

- Very generous resource storage capacities. 100k-200k per facility, for example. Let an empire have 5 million in storage so they can run a deficit during wartime.
Also, supply and ordnance storage. Its no good when your fleet has 20x the capacity of your supply planet.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 09:22 PM
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Default Re: Infinitech Mod Starting

If the +MaxPop ability is working, you could do something really cool with planets:
50M/500M max pop on all domed/breathable planets.
City facilities provide +500M max.

Then use the production modifiers to make build rates be 1% per 10M people!

If possible, you could restrict cheap open air cities to breathable worlds, and force the nonbreathables to build domes for only +50M people... until they have enough industry to finish more advanced structures like arcologies or orbital habitats (++pop, but tiny footprint) in a reasonable time.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Infinitech Mod Starting

Mr. Junkie, those are some fine ideas. Actually, some of them were already planned but others I'm most likely going to use. I did plan on having Farms especially provide supply with miners providing some ordnance (hey, it's amazing what you can do with scrap metal, duct tape, and chewing gum) but then have more developed or specialized things making more. Like, a Military City being able to distribute absurd amounts of stuff to warships in the area, as it provides the infrastructure.

As for the population, I'm going with another "diminishing returns" situation. The thing is, as more and more people occupy a planet, more and more of them spend time running the infrastructure, maintaining the buildings, and making art and such. Less people are actually producing. That being said, you pretty much need the bonuses from a populous planet to build enormous ships quickly enough to be useful. Just another choice for the empire to make....

That open air/domed city idea is actually pretty stellar. I had planned on arcos with the orbital habs idea, but as for domed cities...wow, that's just cool.

Anyway...giving every building storage space goes back to the whole infrastructure idea. My experience has been that pretty much every building ever has storage space. Why not apply that to a game? Allow mines to store minerals to some degree, though not nearly as much as a dedicated storage yard. I always did like the idea of being able to have savings that can be liquidated as the situation requires.

In general, though, supply and ordnance are things I planned on really tinkering with. I do envision things like, say, a home system being able to distribute more supplies around remotely than a fleet could ever possibly use, while things struggle further off, with reserve supplies in the ship being meant for expeditionary forces. That also allows "home guard" style designs that have little storage but aren't likely to run out because they never do leave home.

So...got anything else for me?
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Old September 26th, 2007, 03:28 AM
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Default Re: Infinitech Mod Starting

OK, Planet Maximum Population doesn't seem to work on facilities. Disappointing but we'll see what the next patch brings. If it doesn't get implemented, I'll stuff it in a future mod design or something. In the mean time, I'll make do.
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