Author Topic: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)  (Read 2481 times)

Offline x4000

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2.d. Power for Stationary, Fuel for Mobile (version 2 -- simplified!): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IdzU90psGas_3UFe23BLvsGQ8fclec49NmnbHfwkZ8w/edit#heading=h.2jx9ewlef8wg

2.e. Solar Systems (simplified, and not orbits): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IdzU90psGas_3UFe23BLvsGQ8fclec49NmnbHfwkZ8w/edit#heading=h.sd2h6gyftkvl

I'll be very interested to hear what folks think of the new version, which avoids the more drastic changes.

There was lots of great feedback in the prior thread, but I want to start fresh to be clear where the break in the discussion is.

My changes here were based on a lot of the commentary in the old thread (both positive and negative had an impact), and based on thoughts from Keith.  Specifically some notes:

First Draft Power/Fuel Model (Why it's in the graveyard)
This was an interesting idea, and you can read it in the document of discards above.  However, it was too complex and so we quickly decided to simplify it.  At least for now!  Keith basically came up with the revised model, and I really like it better.

I also corrected the factual inaccuracies about how power worked in AI War Classic based on his notes, since that changed a lot since last I played (it's been THAT LONG).

Solar Systems and Planetary Orbits V1 (why that's in the graveyard and the new model exists)
Keith put it well:

The overall idea of the arrangement of planets and new territory-control rules and such seem ok, but having the non-wormhole method of travel is concerning from a user-experience standpoint.

Seems like it will require a whole new set of interface, usability, etc improvements to make reasonable and even that may really complicate decisions that used to be very simple (in a way that's more frustrating than fun).

And I responded:

Yeah, I have some serious concerns here as well, after having written it down.  Visually the idea super excites me, and the idea of the AI taking territory excites me, and the idea of more realistic planet arrangements really excites me... but I dunno on the other parts.

Maybe just going for a simplified version with no orbits would be better.  I'm going to write that up as an alternative.  It would solve most of our problems, I think.
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2016, 11:13:05 AM »
This, I love!
Random comments.

Metal converter: 0 or 1 per planet (no more allowed), with infinite converting power (basically on/off for "this planet is allowed to brownout" and "this planet consume metal instead of going down").

Orbital motion "frozen", lore justification: space ships are able to move pretty fast between planets and systems; the action is displayed in real time and the game actually take several hours, during which the planets don't move significantly.

What about nomad planets?!? (Well, I guess we'll see that in "ideas for maybe later".)

New solar system design:
So it's basically AI War 1. Planets just have a specific organization in small groups. So every galaxy will become a microcosm-cluster-something. Yay! But with the ability to choose what kind of microcosms we want to be randomly blended. Ultra-yay!
Macro-snake/micro-random would do something like spoke. Macro-grid/micro-everything sounds like fun (among many others). Macro-concentric/micro-ring will be hilarious! Macro-snake/micro-snake wouldn't exactly be like one long snake, because there is no way (at least now, in the design document) for defining relations between macro-links and micro-links. (For creating a pure snake map, it would require to precise that only a planet with one intra-wormhole can have an extra-wormhole). Hm.

Solar map styles:
Being the graph-happy guy I am, how couldn't I love this idea? Here are some suggestions. (I love the ring and the snake!)
* Solar Tree: only N planets connect to the sun; the rest is organized as a tree.
* Sectors: N groups of adjacent planets are connected together; hoping from group to group is only possible by "crossing the sun".

Solar system ownership: doesn't seem to matter a lot, now. Why not just caring about who owns what planet, just like in AIW1?
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Offline x4000

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2016, 11:22:21 AM »
Glad you like it!

Metal converter: I think Keith and others can better respond to that, but as I understand it it's a bad idea.  I'm not current enough to comment on it intelligently, though.

Nomad planets: Not present for now, probably.

Solar system design: yes, basically AI War 1, but the solar system ownership makes a bigger difference than you might think.  Notable strategic changes:
1. There are neutral "safe zones" (suns) in these areas.
2. You have the option of partially or completely taking an AI stronghold (previously a planet, now more of a solar system), unlike before.
3. The AI will fight to regain control of solar systems, unlike before with planets.  Aka, AIs recapturing planets.
4. The AIP ramifications of the AI taking a whole solar system back is a big deal, whereas anything south of that is interesting skirmish.  Both are cool.
5. Background factions and so on will be solar-system based.
6. Individual planetary wells will be smaller, and AIP gains from taking planets will be smaller, leading to more granular possible actions.

Solar map styles: those are programmatically challenging ones that you suggested, because the position of the planets is placed first, then the connections are made.  I don't think those specific variants would work.
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2016, 11:32:44 AM »
 :o

Remarks:
1) "tilted 3d map"... sigh. I missed that in the first draft. Could we have a "flatten option" ? Pretty please ?

2) If I'm reading that well, you're basically setting up to create an AI war game with neutral territories and 480 to 640 systems, each of which could be as defended as any of the previous systems in AI war 1 ? Are every planet the tactical equivalent a what guard posts were, but unable to defend each other, except by sending ships to one another ?

I get that the systems might not be "fully" defended.
I understand that an augmentation in the "preferred" systems number is sensible, to allow factions and "empty" planets.
I'd understand if you wanted to move toward grand strategy - AI war is kind of very small compared to stellaris.

But, my concern comes because I pretty much have a good idea of what size a 640 planets game actually is - it ranges from annoying to mind-boggingly boring. Star Ruler 2 enables you to do that, so, like an idiot, I tried, and in order for the game to work at all, they simplified it most of the gameplay heavily (game is based on possessing 15 system of 4 planets per player). Stellaris has those numbers too, and introduced sectors to counter it. I don't think Ai war will work well with either of the mechanics present in this game.

However, if the "territory capture", on the main map, of system are meant to have the significance of system captures in AI war 1, this modification increases game grind by... a lot. Because it would be difficult to actually reduce the number of systems taken, which was already pushed to the limit by players due to AI progress. Therefore my concern. Is there significant other modifications that will reduce micromanagemenet on the game ?

I'm not against the idea on principle, and it's not "a lot" of work on your side, but I'm cautious on the risk on fun factor here.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2016, 11:38:06 AM by kasnavada »

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2016, 11:34:11 AM »
Solar system design: yes, basically AI War 1, but the solar system ownership makes a bigger difference than you might think.  Notable strategic changes:
1. There are neutral "safe zones" (suns) in these areas.
2. You have the option of partially or completely taking an AI stronghold (previously a planet, now more of a solar system), unlike before.
3. The AI will fight to regain control of solar systems, unlike before with planets.  Aka, AIs recapturing planets.
4. The AIP ramifications of the AI taking a whole solar system back is a big deal, whereas anything south of that is interesting skirmish.  Both are cool.
5. Background factions and so on will be solar-system based.
6. Individual planetary wells will be smaller, and AIP gains from taking planets will be smaller, leading to more granular possible actions.
Awesome! I can't wait to see that in action!
Side questions.
* You speak about AI stronghold at solar size (which sounds exciting). Will planetary mark will be the same for all the AI planets of a same system? I imagine a homeworld and its load of core worlds would be a MkIV system with one MkV planet with no extra-system-wormholes.
* Also, there will be three different kinds of wormholes: between planets of a same system (let's call them intra-wormholes), between planets of different systems (let's call them extra-wormholes) and the two old exo-wormholes. Color code and UI will need to convey that.
* Will supply work on suns? Will we be able to put turrets around them? Or would it be like a nuked planet (no knowledge, no energy, no metal and no supply)?

Solar map styles: those are programmatically challenging ones that you suggested, because the position of the planets is placed first, then the connections are made.  I don't think those specific variants would work.
Okay. I didn't realized. Bear in mind that some people out there (*wink*) will want to mod the map styles, at some point. Eh, I would be okay with "just" the galactic level moddable (if feasible at all, of course).


OMG I already imagine the reworked Dyson Sphere! It is the sun and its mood depends on the balance in its system. *.*
And nebulae: sunless systems! Yay!
I really love the possibilities this offers, now that I really understand it.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2016, 11:36:58 AM by Pumpkin »
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
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Offline Steelpoint

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2016, 11:36:54 AM »
I am concerned, as noted above, about how many individual 'systems' the game will have with this new system.

If each planet in a system is going to be its own individual 'system' akin to AI War 1 then things are going to get cluttered real fast.

BUT I think this needs to be examined in contrast to the changed zooming system, where instead of a individual system view you instead get something akin to Surpreme Commander or Distant Worlds.

---

I think this system will be more clearer once we see a more visual representation. But for now I think the proposed Solar System redesign is going in a good direction.

Offline zharmad

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2016, 11:40:36 AM »
Hmm, the new new design plugs the existing Map Type: Clusters (X) into a standard galaxy map, and adds stars.

Well, it's okay. I really appreciate the logical placement, but am worried about the logistical time it takes for players to traverse from cluster to cluster when not all system bodies are connected to one another. This impacts One of the main objections to even more planets in AIW2, being the total amount of play time, which I tried to address earlier in the old system (linked for others who haven't caught up).

The major speed limitation for redeployment in classic is having to move from wormhole to wormhole per planet, which is hidden in the galaxy map, so that counting hops weren't very reliable. In your new galaxy view, it might be compounded, I think?


Offline Orelius

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2016, 11:48:57 AM »
Is there any possibility of some Acutian-style moon softball?

I'm not really sure how I feel about increasing the planet count that much.  Defending each individual one will be much more of a hassle and the time cost to the player of just placing turrets and whatnot might be a big hassle.

Speaking of which, how will the command ship system change?  When playing large games in AI War classic, you run out of good command station caps, fast.  Now that there are a lot more planets, and probably many different playstyles, will this cap system change somehow?  It really sucks to own half the galaxy but get nothing out of it because you can only place mk1 economic command stations there.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2016, 11:50:40 AM »
I'm sad that moving planets are going away, but I completely understand the technical/UI/readability/gameplay issues it would cause.

Offline zharmad

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2016, 11:52:27 AM »
On the note of travel time, linking all inter-system wormholes to the sun would solve that, but the wormhole confetti within each system remains. I don't suppose the planetary gravity wells are so small so as to make the game feel more like dungeon crawling?

Offline Tridus

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2016, 12:08:47 PM »
Quote
Wormhole connections on the galaxy map are between individual planets (and stars).
There is no movement between anything that isn’t based on a wormhole (unlike the original proposed design).
Aka, this continues to work just like AI War Classic, for a lot of very good reasons gameplay-wise.

This is going to make defense interesting, since if you push the AI out of a system, you will REALLY not want to let them back in. Alternately if you just need a toehold there for something, you try and hold one planet in the system.

It's important the wormholes between systems and the ones inside a system look different, so they're easy to tell apart. Personally, I'd probably use "travel lanes" between planets in a system instead of wormholes, because that largely provides the same thing (fly to the edge of the well and then you enter the travel lane to the other planet), but makes it really clear at a glance that wormholes to different systems are special and important.

Visually they're immediately distinct that way.

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2016, 12:24:01 PM »
I like the new fuel system a lot better, and the changes to power generation have been a long time coming. This nicely nerfs the Zenith Power Generator as well.

For travel, intra-solar wormholes are fine, but Tridus has a good point about travel lanes.

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2016, 12:37:25 PM »
Whew!  Lots of responses fast.  So one thing that has changed since probably a number of you have read it is section 7.b.i, which starts out "Pass one of mapgen in AI War II is a lot like mapgen in AI War Classic, but it is connecting solar systems only at this point.  No planets exist within them just yet."

It talks about a few things, which are here but poorly organized (easier to read on the document itself):

Spoiler for Hidden:
During this pass, we’ll use new map design patterns compared to AI War Classic, because the old styles of maps just don’t translate over well to solar systems.
For one thing, the new default number of solar systems will probably be 20 in order to not inflate game lengths too much, and that few solar systems would not work well with most of the older map types.
One big rule change is that connections can’t overlap other solar systems, unlike in AI War Classic.  The maps in those cases were about impossible to understand visually anyway, and so we had a bunch of untangling logic that people could use that we don’t want to have to rely on here (what a crutch that was).
New map types that will be there for the overall galaxy arrangement:
Snake: A straight line of solar systems that each only connect to 1-2 others.
Simple: Each one connects to 1-3 adjacent solar systems.
Wide: each one connects to 2-5 adjacent solar systems.
Maze: each one starts out connecting to 4-5 adjacent solar systems (where possible), but then connections are removed as much as possible until there are 1-3 connections left on each, and the whole map is still traversable.
Overall notes: That’s four solid map types for the new setup, and then  we have the 6 sub-types for solar systems themselves.
Given the increase in coolness of simply having solar systems at all, and the nature of these being so different visually, hopefully folks are understanding of us not having such a vast array of individual map styles as in AI War Classic.
These more limited numbers of map types combined with the sub-solar-map-styles should still produce more varied strategic terrain anyway.

The big point on that is that maps will be a lot smaller, aka not 600+ planets.  Instead the default of 20 systems, with 3-12ish planets in each, so closer to 100-120 planets in all.

If you want to crank it up (or down) from that, you still could.

Also, the number and type of map types is dropping like a rock, yet the number of interesting outputs will actually be far higher than before.  So it's kind of a mixed-message there, but basically it's frankly apples and oranges now.

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However, if the "territory capture", on the main map, of system are meant to have the significance of system captures in AI war 1

That's a bit apples and oranges as well.  Exact values will have to be determined during playtesting prior to early access, and probably will vary based on the galaxy scale.  But in this new model, there isn't a 1:1 analogue to "capturing a planet" in AI War Classic.  Capturing a planet here is substantially less of a big deal, but capturing a territory is substantially a bigger deal.  So AIWC planet captures are kind of halfway between these two points.

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1) "tilted 3d map"... sigh. I missed that in the first draft. Could we have a "flatten option" ? Pretty please ?

I mean, if you really need it, sure.  But I don't think you'll actually object when you see this in practice.  I'm talking about the slightest of tilts to the galaxy map itself, to make it look slightly better.  Arguably all of AI War Classic shares that same tilt, just in the form of the unit graphics.  Either way, it's not a big thing to let people tune it to taste.  I wouldn't get too hung up on this, because the flexibility that we can put in is pretty high, and I think you're worrying we're going to do something more drastic than we are.  Anyhow, point taken, though. :)

Quote
* You speak about AI stronghold at solar size (which sounds exciting). Will planetary mark will be the same for all the AI planets of a same system? I imagine a homeworld and its load of core worlds would be a MkIV system with one MkV planet with no extra-system-wormholes.

Probably not, but they will have some relation to one another.  There's a number of upcoming things related to solar systems in general that kind of address that question.

Quote
* Also, there will be three different kinds of wormholes: between planets of a same system (let's call them intra-wormholes), between planets of different systems (let's call them extra-wormholes) and the two old exo-wormholes. Color code and UI will need to convey that.

Yep, this is true.  My mind is really failing me, though: embarrassingly, I need you to remind me exactly what exo wormholes are.  I seem to recall having those on the AI homeworlds, and I think I even added them on the player homeworlds at one point, but maybe that got taken out or was just a lobby option.

Quote
* Will supply work on suns? Will we be able to put turrets around them? Or would it be like a nuked planet (no knowledge, no energy, no metal and no supply)?

I'm not sure that there's any need for supply anymore, since power is now per-planet.  To build something in enemy territory, you'd need to establish reactors first there and then build up some more stuff for your beachhead.  That might best be a separate discussion, but I think that supply basically just got folded into power, which would be nice if so.

Anyhow, no you can't build anything that uses power on the sun areas.  You can send mobile ships there, but that's it. :)

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Okay. I didn't realized. Bear in mind that some people out there (*wink*) will want to mod the map styles, at some point. Eh, I would be okay with "just" the galactic level moddable (if feasible at all, of course).

Yep, I'm not sure that we can really make those moddable upfront, since those require a lot of knowledge of coding and things like pathfinding and algorithms and so on. But you will be able to design solar systems via xml.

Quote
OMG I already imagine the reworked Dyson Sphere! It is the sun and its mood depends on the balance in its system. *.*
And nebulae: sunless systems! Yay!
I really love the possibilities this offers, now that I really understand it.

I haven't even thought about the dyson sphere yet, but that would be an awesome way to handle it for sure!  That would be an example of a minor faction controlling a solar system (permanently, in that case).  A thread about that would be great.

For nebulae, I'm not sure that we'll do those in the base 1.0 version of the game.  Those and champions are kind of ancillary to the main game, and while I'd like to do them I'd also like to make the main game richer before getting into variants too much, if that makes sense.  Aka, I view those as kind of a lifts-right-out-minigame within the main game, rather than a part of the main game that you can turn on or off (unlike, say, the dyson sphere, which is very much part of the main game if it exists).

If each planet in a system is going to be its own individual 'system' akin to AI War 1 then things are going to get cluttered real fast.

Quote
BUT I think this needs to be examined in contrast to the changed zooming system, where instead of a individual system view you instead get something akin to Surpreme Commander or Distant Worlds.

---

I think this system will be more clearer once we see a more visual representation. But for now I think the proposed Solar System redesign is going in a good direction.

Awesome. :)  I have a design in my head for it, and I think you'll like it, but I won't be able to finish that until next week sometime I imagine.

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The major speed limitation for redeployment in classic is having to move from wormhole to wormhole per planet, which is hidden in the galaxy map, so that counting hops weren't very reliable. In your new galaxy view, it might be compounded, I think?

Planet wells themselves will be smaller, which will help alleviate this.  There was a lot of extra wasted space in the planets in AIW Classic that didn't really add anything except travel time, and to some extent warning time.  But the planets themselves offer warning time now, so cutting down the sizes so that travel time is not irksome becomes the next goal.

It's something that can be customized in xml, so if you like the giant planets you can still do it.  And obviously we'll listen to testing feedback on that.  But in general I think that is an easily-solvable issue.

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Is there any possibility of some Acutian-style moon softball?

Probably not in v1, but it's worth throwing in there as an idea.  I like the idea of doing some new things that might be possible here at the expense of delaying some stuff that you already saw in AIW Classic.  Aka, just because it was in AIW Classic doesn't mean it needs to be here immediately, and in some cases some other new feature like this might be both quicker for us to implement and more exciting.

I'm not sure precisely how this would work at the moment, though.

Quote
Speaking of which, how will the command ship system change?  When playing large games in AI War classic, you run out of good command station caps, fast.  Now that there are a lot more planets, and probably many different playstyles, will this cap system change somehow?  It really sucks to own half the galaxy but get nothing out of it because you can only place mk1 economic command stations there.

I want to redo how command stations work in general, in terms of their upgrades.  I don't like having caps.  I do like having different categories of them, though.  And I also like the ability to upgrade those categories.  My preferred method would be to have three categories (as before), but no mark levels on them.  And instead of giant mark level leaps, you have much smaller "candy-tech-style" incremental upgrades for them that apply to all stations of that type.

Swapping out command station types for upgraded versions always irked me, among other things.

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This is going to make defense interesting, since if you push the AI out of a system, you will REALLY not want to let them back in. Alternately if you just need a toehold there for something, you try and hold one planet in the system.

It's okay if they come back in, but you just absolutely cannot let them take the whole thing back over (getting a majority of its planets and kicking you out), or else that's bad bad bad.  But that's hard to have happen all in one quick swoop, so it's a good amount of safety there.

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Personally, I'd probably use "travel lanes" between planets in a system instead of wormholes, because that largely provides the same thing (fly to the edge of the well and then you enter the travel lane to the other planet), but makes it really clear at a glance that wormholes to different systems are special and important.

Maybe!  I understand what you mean, but I'm having trouble picturing how it would look in practice.  I think that Sins did that, but it's been a long while since I played that.  Any links to screenshots?

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I like the new fuel system a lot better, and the changes to power generation have been a long time coming. This nicely nerfs the Zenith Power Generator as well.

Awesome!  And yeah, that's probably a piece that either will be modified heavily, or not come over.  It would probably be the Zenith Fuel Well instead, or something. ;)
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2016, 12:48:59 PM »
The big point on that is that maps will be a lot smaller, aka not 600+ planets.  Instead the default of 20 systems, with 3-12ish planets in each, so closer to 100-120 planets in all.

If you want to crank it up (or down) from that, you still could.

Also, the number and type of map types is dropping like a rock, yet the number of interesting outputs will actually be far higher than before.  So it's kind of a mixed-message there, but basically it's frankly apples and oranges now.

Quote

    However, if the "territory capture", on the main map, of system are meant to have the significance of system captures in AI war 1


That's a bit apples and oranges as well.  Exact values will have to be determined during playtesting prior to early access, and probably will vary based on the galaxy scale.  But in this new model, there isn't a 1:1 analogue to "capturing a planet" in AI War Classic.  Capturing a planet here is substantially less of a big deal, but capturing a territory is substantially a bigger deal.  So AIWC planet captures are kind of halfway between these two points.

Ok, that alleviates my concerns quite a bit.


Offline Tridus

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2016, 12:50:01 PM »
Glad you like it!

Metal converter: I think Keith and others can better respond to that, but as I understand it it's a bad idea.  I'm not current enough to comment on it intelligently, though.


I'm not sure what purpose a metal converter would serve in the new system, in terms of avoiding brownouts. Power generation is local, and power generators only consume metal when their power is needed. You can just build more power generators if you want one system to have a ton of power (or a ZPG if one is available).

A metal converter for fuel type thing might make more sense, but I'm still not sure it's needed unless you're building a really oversized fleet in a really small space, somehow. I don't think it is, though.