Author Topic: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling  (Read 5233 times)

Offline Bridger

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Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« on: June 05, 2009, 06:04:49 AM »
I see there is a way to give units to allies, but is there a way to give metal, crystal and knowledge?

If there isnt, could we have it - perhaps as "caravans"/transports between trade docks?

Offline x4000

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2009, 08:37:05 AM »
Ooh, I really like the caravan's approach.  I had wanted to get away from just having users able to give resources with no penalty or something, which a lot of recent RTS games, and instead emphasize more in-game cooperation (such as giving harvester(s) to your allies).  But I really like the idea of caravans to encourage trade in multiplayer, and possibly even generate some bonus income, too.

Oh, and one thing -- it will never be possible to give knowledge or energy between players.  Knowledge is finite per player on the map, so that would encourage various sorts of abuse if they could give it.  But, I like the idea of giving metal and crystal in some fashion.

I'll have to think more about the specific mechanics, but you've raised an interesting issue there, and I really like the idea.  Main thing is to make it part of gameplay but still easy and relatively quick, which might be a challenge.  I might wind up splitting those features, so that at a Trade Post you can instantly give resources to another player (maybe with a 10% tax like in a number of other recent games), but also add trade caravans that generate metal/crystal (although, that makes less sense than generating money/wealth like in other games with caravans).

All right... so maybe for now I'll just start with a Trade Post for gifting Metal/Crystal between players (with a 10% tax), and then will think about caravans more for the future.  Let me know if you have any further ideas on that front, I'm still intrigued but not quite seeing a clear design yet on that one.
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Offline Bridger

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2009, 08:52:18 AM »
I agree with the idea of tax, but where in this game would the tax go?  It just doesnt make sense to do the tax to me at the moment.

My thought with the caravan is  you issue a "caravan run" from your trade post (perhaps can only be built on the home world) and then that must travel to the allies home world trade post (possibly with risk of being intercepted/destroyed, if you sent it solo).  I dont like the idea of the caravan run much now I'm thinking more about it...

..so what about "gifting" the production of metal harvesters/crystal harvesters to an ally for a period of time, say 15 minutes at a time, and these must be done manually.  Perhaps this can import the tax element - for example:

Player 1 owns 5 harvesters but does not need the output, but player 2 does.  Each harvester has an output of 5 units per harvester, so total of 25 output p/sec.  Player 1 loans the harvester to Player 2, but because of the loss in efficiency of the other players team "borrowing" the harvester, output is 20% lower, so 4 units per harvester.

I'm laughably thinking about the TV series "V" here, where the visitors borrow Earth's production facilities to manufacture their products, instead of building their own resources (which of course our resource strapped allies cant do).

Offline x4000

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2009, 09:06:18 AM »
I agree with the idea of tax, but where in this game would the tax go?  It just doesnt make sense to do the tax to me at the moment.

Hmm, you're right about that.  I guess I was sort of thinking of it as an "efficiency loss"

My thought with the caravan is  you issue a "caravan run" from your trade post (perhaps can only be built on the home world) and then that must travel to the allies home world trade post (possibly with risk of being intercepted/destroyed, if you sent it solo).  I dont like the idea of the caravan run much now I'm thinking more about it...

Gotcha.  Yeah, could be hard to maintain, and the resources might not get there for a good while.

..so what about "gifting" the production of metal harvesters/crystal harvesters to an ally for a period of time, say 15 minutes at a time, and these must be done manually.  Perhaps this can import the tax element - for example:

Player 1 owns 5 harvesters but does not need the output, but player 2 does.  Each harvester has an output of 5 units per harvester, so total of 25 output p/sec.  Player 1 loans the harvester to Player 2, but because of the loss in efficiency of the other players team "borrowing" the harvester, output is 20% lower, so 4 units per harvester.

You can already give harvesters between players to do basically this, the only thing is that the harvester does not come back.  I think that having it auto-revert between players would be likely to cause more confusion than anything else (and yet more buttons in the meantime).  Bear in mind that there is an efficiency drop with one player holding too many metal/crystal producers, so in that sense it's best for the team to spread the wealth around. 

You can see if a new producer is producing less than its ideal amount by looking at the hover text for it after you build it.  If it's doing more poorly, you can always give it to an ally.  This really only comes in after you have around 140/s or so of a resource.  After the first few hours of the game, if you are playing on an 80+ planet map, you'll spend most of the rest of the game with between 100 and 200 per second of income per player on metal and crystal (and you can balance our your individual needs through gifting harvesters or through manufactories), unless things are going more poorly.

I'm laughably thinking about the TV series "V" here, where the visitors borrow Earth's production facilities to manufacture their products, instead of building their own resources (which of course our resource strapped allies cant do).

Haha, that's a cool source for game ideas.  Right now I'm thinking of doing just kind of a simple trade post sort of unit to meet the basic gameplay addition request, and then we'll see how that feels and what might be nice to add.  I don't think that will unbalance the multiplayer game any, it will just make certain activities (sharing) more convenient to do.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2009, 09:29:30 AM »
It is important that co-op players be able to help each other out; since we can already transfer control of metal/crystal producers that's the lion's share of what is needed, I think.  It would also be nice to be able to do one-time transfers of a chunk of metal and/or crystal because even if you give the lower-resource player an additional 100/sec production they may need more resources _right now_.  While caravans and/or trade posts may provide more interesting leads into other features, I think the best way of doing this is just a little sub screen listing the other human players and you can do some sort of click on a player name to bring up a box with "amount of metal to send" and "amount of crystal to send" fields and a "send" button.  Instant transfer, 10% tax or whatever.  Simple both for players and programmer (hopefully).

The caravan run idea may be nice if it was more of a "commerce bonus" economic feature, so you could have this merchant fleet operating on its own and it's in your best interest to protect it (single-player or co-op, doesn't care).  Could have the program auto-generate the freighters from planet to planet, and every time a freighter makes a stop it increments some local bonus counter (resource production, build rate, "happiness/morale" meter for the residents of that system, etc).  I'm not sure if this fits in the military/naval scope, but it could give the human empire a more "alive" feeling.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2009, 09:50:44 AM »
It is important that co-op players be able to help each other out; since we can already transfer control of metal/crystal producers that's the lion's share of what is needed, I think.  It would also be nice to be able to do one-time transfers of a chunk of metal and/or crystal because even if you give the lower-resource player an additional 100/sec production they may need more resources _right now_.  While caravans and/or trade posts may provide more interesting leads into other features, I think the best way of doing this is just a little sub screen listing the other human players and you can do some sort of click on a player name to bring up a box with "amount of metal to send" and "amount of crystal to send" fields and a "send" button.  Instant transfer, 10% tax or whatever.  Simple both for players and programmer (hopefully).

Yep, totally with you, I think this is the basic idea of what I'm going to do (probably no tax at first).  This will probably be implemented through buttons on a new Trade Post unit, though, simply to keep this as part of gameplay and to avoid having yet one more interface button for something that is not that commonly needed.

The caravan run idea may be nice if it was more of a "commerce bonus" economic feature, so you could have this merchant fleet operating on its own and it's in your best interest to protect it (single-player or co-op, doesn't care).  Could have the program auto-generate the freighters from planet to planet, and every time a freighter makes a stop it increments some local bonus counter (resource production, build rate, "happiness/morale" meter for the residents of that system, etc).  I'm not sure if this fits in the military/naval scope, but it could give the human empire a more "alive" feeling.

Yeah, I've seen this in the earlier AoE games and also in RoL (and maybe RoN?  Can't remember), and I really liked that.  I think it fits with the military focus pretty well just because it creates new strategic opportunities and problems (we can get a resource bonus, but we also have to protect these new things).

You have some really good suggestions there.  Here's what I'm thinking right now, for caravans (let me know what you think):

Caravans would be something that you could have the Trade Post automatically build from a queue, as you would with a space dock, so that you can either just build one or a couple of them, or you could have them be automatically replenished from a queue.  Each caravan would have some moderate cost to it.  I'm thinking that the pop cap for caravans would automatically increase based on the number of command stations you personally have (I really like this from RoL: number of caravans - number of command posts minus one).  The caravans would move about through friendly planets at random, giving a temporary resource production bonus to each command station they visit.

There would need to be some sort of bonus for going longer distances, some sort of incentive for visiting allied planets perhaps, and some sort of reason for visiting more than just two planets in general.  I'm thinking that maybe they would be required to visit something like 5 or 6 planets (or however many allied planets there are, if there are fewer than that number) before they could loop back around to the start of the planets and start over.

Anyway, that's what I'm thinking right now based on the ideas you posed.  This won't be a real short-term feature, but maybe in the coming weeks.  Hopefully the Trade Post will be more short term, although I don't know if I'll have time for that for this week's DLC.
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Offline Daemon

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2009, 09:57:09 AM »
I like the idea of caravans and trading posts. Caravans could be used and have a cargo hold so only be able to 'move' a certain amount. These would move automatically at a set rate and once arrive would be deposited into the other players 'account'. This caravan would then return to the original trade post and wait for another order or continue on a loop shiping a specific amout of resorces.

This alows you to manage your resorces aswell as helping a friend, it also gives the AI an oportunity to attack these trade routes. You could also add different tech levels to have bigger cargo holds.

The other would be direct trades as you see in other games, which I guess is a simple way to do the sharing of resources. The other option would be to 'share' resources so you could click a button and instead of trading resources to one another all resources become one pot that you all use (depending on who you click to share resources with).

I agree that knowledge and energy should be seperate, all though it would nice to have more that 2000 knowledge per planet.

Just my thoughs on it all

Offline Daemon

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2009, 09:59:55 AM »
Just read the other posts and the % bonus to caravan routes for resources is also a good idea :)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2009, 10:06:54 AM »
Chris,

On the caravans, that sounds ok to me if it sounds ok to you, but I was thinking of having the trade post or whatever automatically build those freighters and the freighters randomly choose a destination planet (adjacent or not) each time it stops.  They would be units owned by the player but essentially controlled by a destination-choosing algorithm.  This appeals to me in not adding much additional micromanagement to the player, but still present them with the tradeoff choices of "let the freighters fend for themselves" and "protect them to maximize bonuses".

Thanks,
Keith
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Offline x4000

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2009, 10:25:11 AM »
I like the idea of caravans and trading posts. Caravans could be used and have a cargo hold so only be able to 'move' a certain amount. These would move automatically at a set rate and once arrive would be deposited into the other players 'account'. This caravan would then return to the original trade post and wait for another order or continue on a loop shiping a specific amout of resorces.

This alows you to manage your resorces aswell as helping a friend, it also gives the AI an oportunity to attack these trade routes. You could also add different tech levels to have bigger cargo holds.

I think I'm going to go with the simpler approach, but I like these ideas too. :)

The other would be direct trades as you see in other games, which I guess is a simple way to do the sharing of resources. The other option would be to 'share' resources so you could click a button and instead of trading resources to one another all resources become one pot that you all use (depending on who you click to share resources with).

Hmm, having one pot of resources is pretty interesting.  I kind of prefer having them separate in most cases though, because then you don't run into player frustration with people trying to use the same resources for different things.  There is also a 300k cap on both metal and crystal, so that could also become more problematic if not handled carefully.

BUT, you just made me think of something from SupCom, which is basically that the metal and crystal that is excess could automatically flow to allies instead of just being wasted.  I think that would be really cool, for situations in which someone is sitting at 300k resources while the other players are more poor.  I'm going to add that to today's release, I think.

I agree that knowledge and energy should be seperate, all though it would nice to have more that 2000 knowledge per planet.

Having 2000 knowledge per planet is really balanced for an 80 planet map, and I think you guys are playing on 50 planet maps or something, which will have a really different feel.  You have much easier access on the smaller maps to important things like Advanced Research Stations and Advanced Factories, and getting to the enemy home planet is much quicker, but you also have the disadvantage of fewer planets to draw resources from (knowledge included).  So it's kind of a give and take there, but I think the best experience is with 80 planets or more.  That's just what the game was balanced around, you know.

I suppose that on smaller maps I could make it scale downward and give more knowledge per planet, but I'd worry that would make those maps far too easy, because of all the other bonuses you get.  But if you think that knowledge is frustratingly limited on those size of maps, let me know and I'll go ahead and put in the scaling factor.  Maybe an extra 300 knowledge per planet per-ten-planets-fewer-than-80-in-the-galaxy.  So on a 50 planet map, that would be 2900 knowledge per planet, on a 40 planet map that would be 3200.  Let me know what you think.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2009, 10:27:41 AM »
I was thinking of having the trade post or whatever automatically build those freighters

Yes, so was I, but only if the player opts to set them to looping.  In other words, the freighters (that's a better word) would have a cost, so the player might not want to always have them auto-build.  This would let you easily do it either way.

and the freighters randomly choose a destination planet (adjacent or not) each time it stops.  They would be units owned by the player but essentially controlled by a destination-choosing algorithm.  This appeals to me in not adding much additional micromanagement to the player, but still present them with the tradeoff choices of "let the freighters fend for themselves" and "protect them to maximize bonuses".

Totally with you on this one.  The freighters would not be player-controllable, they would choose their own destinations as you mention.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2009, 10:29:30 AM »
Sounds good :)
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Offline Daemon

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2009, 10:32:48 AM »
Yeah i can see your point and understand the knowledge cap per planet.

I guess the way for caravans to be intergrated and have little managment would be the 'free raoming approach as discussed by Keith. I think it whatever form, the caravans idea would be good.

It was SupCom I got that idea of resource sharing ;) I think this would work well, as resources you are gathering once you hit the cap wouldnt be lost.

Offline x4000

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2009, 10:44:20 AM »
Awesome, glad we found something we all like. :)
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Offline Bridger

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Re: Sharing, diplomacy, resource pooling
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2009, 11:00:37 AM »
woo hoo :)

Its cool to be involved in the creative expansion of this game :)