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Games => AI War II => Topic started by: x4000 on September 08, 2016, 11:01:19 AM

Title: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: x4000 on September 08, 2016, 11:01:19 AM
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 (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,19070.0.html), 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.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Pumpkin 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?
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: x4000 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.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: kasnavada 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.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Pumpkin 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.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Steelpoint 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.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: zharmad 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 (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,19070.msg206683.html#msg206683) (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?

Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Orelius 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.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Draco18s 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.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: zharmad 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?
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Tridus on September 08, 2016, 12:08:47 PM
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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.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Captain Jack 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.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: x4000 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):

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. :)

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* 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.

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* 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.

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* 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.

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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.

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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.

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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. ;)
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: kasnavada 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.

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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.

Ok, that alleviates my concerns quite a bit.

Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Tridus 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.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Draco18s on September 08, 2016, 12:51:38 PM
ZPGs are going to be.....uh.....interesting to try and migrate.  400 free local power isn't going to be as awesome as it used to be.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Tridus on September 08, 2016, 12:59:53 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.

That actually sounds quite nice. If you can zoom the map out to looking at systems, you can see an overview of who is where. Then you can zoom in further towards planets to see individual systems in more detail.

A map of 20 systems (with a bunch of connections inside them) is a lot easier to process mentally than a map of 100 individual planets.

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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.

It's a wormhole on the AI Homeworlds that goes to whatever galaxy the AI is busy in. It acts as a warp gate that you can't get rid of, so the AI can always send stuff there. Exo strike forces also launch from it. If you send the Exodian Blade through it, stuff goes boom. :D

One of the AI Types was able to add one to your own homeworld.

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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.

That would be awesome.

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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?

I'll see if I can find some, but I'm at work so I can't just fire up Sins to take a few. :)

Roughly though, it is the way it worked in Sins (except the Vasari, who could bypass it with Phase Gates), or Endless Space. On any given planet, it's connections to other planets are drawn as lines (or something flashier) from the edge of the gravity well to wherever else it goes. You enter that travel lane by flying over to it, then you go off the grav well and to the other planet through that lane. In AI War it could function *like* a wormhole, where you enter it and appear on the other side, except it always appears on the edge of the grav well and isn't drawn like a wormhole.

So, say for example we have our solar system, where each planet has a travel lane to the planet adjacent to it, and Earth has a wormhole to Polaris or wherever. On Earth, you'd see a wormhole to Polaris somewhere in the grav well. At one end you'd also see a line that goes to Mars, and somewhere else,another line that goes to Venus.

The biggest upside is that because only one of those things looks like a wormhole, everybody (including newbies) can tell instantly it's different than the travel lanes (which it is, because it's leaving the system). Lots of games use travel lanes between planets like this, so it shouldn't be hard for people to pick up what they mean. In terms of automatic navigation and such, the game could just consider it a wormhole to Mars that's on the edge of the grav well, and nothing else really changes.

edit - Here's an example screenshot of what a system might look like, from Sins. If you zoom in on a given planet, you'd see the given lanes at the edges of the grav well, and you warp out at them to go to the other system. In AIW2's case, there'd also be wormholes somewhere in there to get you in/out of the system. I can't find one zoomed in at the right height to see it in a specific system unfortunately.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Orelius on September 08, 2016, 01:20:32 PM
So if we have solar systems, will Dyson spheres change significantly?  I think it would be pretty penalizing to be unable to colonize an entire solar system.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: zharmad on September 08, 2016, 01:22:56 PM
Tick, I can support a Sins-style split in graphics between lanes and actual wormholes. What I'd like to really avoid is the original ambiguity as to which wormhole leads where - one had to remember planet names since the planet view only had names and "hostile?" information.

Hmmm. With 20 systems (simple layout), averaging ~6 planets each, the complete number of hops from one end to the other would be ~4x3 or 12 hops - more closely connected than a standard 80-planet simple layout, IIRC?

Graphically speaking, it's also worth noting that the system view in Stellaris gives you the direction and name of neighboring systems in the form of very fat arrows at the edge of the circle.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Nuc_Temeron on September 08, 2016, 01:26:06 PM
I like these changes! Fuel and Power make good sense.

It's always bothered me just a little that there were no solar systems in the game. I'm very glad to hear those are in now.

I think that it's very easy, scientifically, to move between planets in one system, compared to moving between solar systems. Connections between planets in a solar system should be plentiful.

Finally I can stop using the terms Planet and System interchangeably. Ha!
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: kasnavada on September 08, 2016, 01:31:35 PM
ZPGs are going to be.....uh.....interesting to try and migrate.  400 free local power isn't going to be as awesome as it used to be.

Strap engines on it, make it go nuclear if it is destroyed. Something that produces that much power can't be stable, right ?
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Tridus on September 08, 2016, 01:32:40 PM
Arrows and names would work too. Names should really be there so you know where it goes. :)

I don't think it matters a ton of it's arrows or lines or whatever, just that they're distinct from the wormholes that leave the system.


As for the ZPG...it could be a very powerful generator on one world that basically runs on no metal. It could be a special generator that's so powerful it can also power adjacent worlds (which would make it extra special and important because if it gets taken out, *multiple* worlds go down, which isn't a thing that otherwise happens anymore). It could not exist at all.

The framework that's presented in the document now gives a lot of ways to go with it beyond the original "it's got a huge power number".
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Captain Jack on September 08, 2016, 01:40:56 PM
ZPGs are going to be.....uh.....interesting to try and migrate.  400 free local power isn't going to be as awesome as it used to be.

Strap engines on it, make it go nuclear if it is destroyed. Something that produces that much power can't be stable, right ?
There's a reason the Zenith still school everyone despite being dead as a civilization for millenia.  :D

I think the ZPG will end up wholly repurposed. I could see them being cores of superprojects for you/the AI/minor civs.

As for superfuel stations, how about a sunwell? Plug it into a star you control and it makes you a bunch of fuel at the cost of being really hard to defend. Brought to you by the same dead people who brought you the Megalith.  ;)

I like solar systems but don't like the idea there can be multiple AIP hits if a solar system changes hands several times. it punishes "bend but don't break" strategies and goes back to making whipping boys. There is already plenty  ways that encourage the latter.
I thought you only gained AIP progress if the AI retakes a star system entirely? That happens is if you lose every command center in a system AND the AI repopulates half of it. There's a lot of margin there for a comeback, so it seems fine to me.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: chemical_art on September 08, 2016, 01:42:22 PM
I like solar systems but don't like the idea there can be multiple AIP hits if a solar system changes hands several times. it punishes "bend but don't break" strategies and goes back to making whipping boys. There is already plenty  ways that encourage the latter.

I am still not a fan of fuel for it seems it will be mildly annoying to veterans and a great source of frustration to new players. It lacks depth but is challenging to new players. I think the opposite is desired.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Tridus on September 08, 2016, 02:02:59 PM
I like solar systems but don't like the idea there can be multiple AIP hits if a solar system changes hands several times. it punishes "bend but don't break" strategies and goes back to making whipping boys. There is already plenty  ways that encourage the latter.

Is it really "bending" if you lose control of an entire system, though? That's not losing one planet.

That said, I think the idea of making that a lobby option was pitched.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Draco18s on September 08, 2016, 02:05:07 PM
I like solar systems but don't like the idea there can be multiple AIP hits if a solar system changes hands several times. it punishes "bend but don't break" strategies and goes back to making whipping boys. There is already plenty  ways that encourage the latter.
I thought you only gained AIP progress if the AI retakes a star system entirely? That happens is if you lose every command center in a system AND the AI repopulates half of it. There's a lot of margin there for a comeback, so it seems fine to me.

I think you misunderstood.  The AI retaking territory doesn't reduce AIP.  When they take over the whole system you taking planets there again costs AIP all over again.  It resets the "take it the first time" bool.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: kasnavada on September 08, 2016, 02:07:45 PM
I like solar systems but don't like the idea there can be multiple AIP hits if a solar system changes hands several times. it punishes "bend but don't break" strategies and goes back to making whipping boys. There is already plenty  ways that encourage the latter.

About that part, I like Infested Planet's system of node capture, which shares the asymetrical design of AI war, but is billions of time faster. It also has the concept of recaptures by both the player and the infested. If you want ideas on how to make the AI rebuild / capture that could be a start.

Anyway, I disgress. There is a system of points that you can gain by capturing nodes, but it counts only the "total" number of nodes under control by the player at a given point, rather than what is captured or not. That has a lot of strategic values because you can abandon places and / or exchange nodes under control. If you're losing ground, the AI does not get any less strong though.

In AI war 2 systems could be worth "points" and the sum of points under the player's control would be the only thing that counts toward AI progress. That would allow strategic re-captures to be more significant, lessen the penalty on back & forth, and also allow strategic retreats, and / or redefining one's territory as one sees fit.

The second possibility is especially important. In AI war 1, I always felt "locked" to defend a system because it permanently was a reinforcement penalty, a wave target and so on... if that's in place, no more. Also, if some objectives appears as part of a scenario somewhere, you'd be able to regroup differently. Which is a possibilty I dearly like.

PS : "only thing seems dumb": yes. Another proposal;: the AI progress could be in 2 parts: a static "pool" that you'd gain by doing what the AI does not like, and another pool that you'd gain by this concept of territory size.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: chemical_art on September 08, 2016, 02:08:03 PM
For me bending is taken almost to the exteme.

In AIW1 that would mean losing, depending on the map, 3 hard checkpoints and 6 softer points from the nastiest of waves late game.

If it was just done so that you got the AIP back if the AI retake the world then I would be fine
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Draco18s on September 08, 2016, 02:11:17 PM
If it was just done so that you got the AIP back if the AI retake the world then I would be fine

Nothing I saw in the design doc said that you get the AIP back.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: chemical_art on September 08, 2016, 02:13:54 PM
If it was just done so that you got the AIP back if the AI retake the world then I would be fine

Nothing I saw in the design doc said that you get the AIP back.

I know, which is why I asked if for it to be so  ;)
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: x4000 on September 08, 2016, 02:56:12 PM
Bear in mind that there's a sharp limit to how many square pegs I'm going to try to fit into round holes.  When ZPGs don't work, then they either get shifted to something else or just removed entirely.  I'm not going to gut the game, but I'm also not going to bloat it with things that aren't really needed.

Thanks for the reminder about Exos, that makes sense on that.  I'm not sure if we'll have those kind of wormholes this time or not.  Might handle that in a slightly more interesting way, or else will just do that again, depending.

In Sins I seem to recall that they heavily darkened the space outside of the gravity well, which I'm not sure how well that would look here.  It can certainly be done, but I'm not sure how annoying it will be.  I'd like to do something a little more subtle than that if possible.

Either way, making wormhole connections directional is something that I really agree with.  At least the lanes within the solar system, to be sure.

Dyson spheres would be an example of something that changes dramatically, yes.  The idea behind them is awesome at the core, but their model from before is something I'm bored of and always felt was limited anyway.  We can do something richer here.

I've been back and forth on if 20 systems would really be the new default, though.  Certainly it will be an option, but I'm not sure if it will really let me get everything in there that I'd like to have in one game.  Doing some things like "solar gates" that are the one building you can build on suns in either allied, owned, or neutral solar systems, but then let you fast travel units from that sun to any other sun with such a gate on it, could help matters quite enormously.  It would bring a new element to deep strikes and planet hopping.

The "sunwell" is an awesome idea that we should totally put in there.  I think that's a lot more interesting than the ZPG in this game, for sure. :)

I like solar systems but don't like the idea there can be multiple AIP hits if a solar system changes hands several times. it punishes "bend but don't break" strategies and goes back to making whipping boys. There is already plenty  ways that encourage the latter.

I will make it an option, but I think it makes good sense.  Let's actually play out a few scenarios and when you gain AIP:

1. GAIN: you take a planet from the AI anywhere.
2. NOPE: you lose a planet that the AI takes over, and then you take it back
3. GAIN: you take the entire solar system (let's say 5 planets in a group) from an AI.
4. NOPE: the AI pushes back into that solar system and takes 4 of those planets from you.  You then reclaim all 4 of those planets.
5. NOPE: the AI pushes back into that solar system, knocks you off all 5 of them, and then takes 2 of them before you knock them back off those 2.
6. NOPE: the AI again comes in, knocks you off all the planets, and takes 3 planets so that they now control it again.  You retain control of the remaining 2.
7. NOPE: the AI pushes you off those remaining 2, and then you retake them.
8. GAIN (repeat): you take the solar system back from the AI.  You'd take a hit from the 3 systems they reclaimed as part of their empire, and from the system itself.

I think perhaps you were envisioning this as being much more harsh on when you get repeat gains?  You have to get pushed pretty far back before this is even an issue.

I am still not a fan of fuel for it seems it will be mildly annoying to veterans and a great source of frustration to new players. It lacks depth but is challenging to new players. I think the opposite is desired.

Fuel = energy, in every way, at this point.  However, it separates your offensive and defensive budgets so that you are never having to struggle between offense or defense when it comes to territory-limited assets (unlike, say, metal income, which you of course still have to figure out how to allocate).
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: skrutsch on September 08, 2016, 03:05:34 PM
I like the solar system revisions.  One small question:  Does a Planet Ring solar system need to have an accessible sun?

A larger question:  What are the advantages of a player taking ownership of an AI solar system?

The AI Progress increase for conquering a system seems wrong, especially when....
Quote
The amount of the hit will be different based on how valuable that solar system is (generally speaking how large it is, and how good the planets on it are).

Why wouldn't I just take the AIP hits for the "good" planets, leave an AI planet be (so the system would still belong to the AI) and not have to suffer the extra AIP hit for solar system conquest at all?
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Tridus on September 08, 2016, 03:12:55 PM
In Sins I seem to recall that they heavily darkened the space outside of the gravity well, which I'm not sure how well that would look here.  It can certainly be done, but I'm not sure how annoying it will be.  I'd like to do something a little more subtle than that if possible.

Either way, making wormhole connections directional is something that I really agree with.  At least the lanes within the solar system, to be sure.

I don't think you have to do it the same way that Sins did it, but they make a good example. :) I don't know how moving around between planets in a system works in AIW2. In Sins, you'd just zoom out and browse over, as the entire game was visible at once if you zoomed out far enough. I don't know if AIW2 is working more like that, or more like AIW1 where you only view one planet at a time.

Mostly I think the connections between planets and connections between systems should be very distinct from each other. Wormhole for one, something not-wormhole for the other. There's some room to figure out exactly what they look like, but lanes are an easy one just because so many other games use some form of it. It's a genre language that people will easily understand.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: kasnavada on September 08, 2016, 03:24:49 PM
I've been back and forth on if 20 systems would really be the new default, though.  Certainly it will be an option, but I'm not sure if it will really let me get everything in there that I'd like to have in one game.  Doing some things like "solar gates" that are the one building you can build on suns in either allied, owned, or neutral solar systems, but then let you fast travel units from that sun to any other sun with such a gate on it, could help matters quite enormously.  It would bring a new element to deep strikes and planet hopping.

The possibly limiting the number of planets per system, and augmenting the number of systems. Like 2-6 planets / system and 40-50 systems.


Quote from: chemical_art on Today at 01:42:22 PM

    I like solar systems but don't like the idea there can be multiple AIP hits if a solar system changes hands several times. it punishes "bend but don't break" strategies and goes back to making whipping boys. There is already plenty  ways that encourage the latter.


I will make it an option, but I think it makes good sense.  Let's actually play out a few scenarios and when you gain AIP:

1. GAIN: you take a planet from the AI anywhere.
2. NOPE: you lose a planet that the AI takes over, and then you take it back
3. GAIN: you take the entire solar system (let's say 5 planets in a group) from an AI.
4. NOPE: the AI pushes back into that solar system and takes 4 of those planets from you.  You then reclaim all 4 of those planets.
5. NOPE: the AI pushes back into that solar system, knocks you off all 5 of them, and then takes 2 of them before you knock them back off those 2.
6. NOPE: the AI again comes in, knocks you off all the planets, and takes 3 planets so that they now control it again.  You retain control of the remaining 2.
7. NOPE: the AI pushes you off those remaining 2, and then you retake them.
8. GAIN (repeat): you take the solar system back from the AI.  You'd take a hit from the 3 systems they reclaimed as part of their empire, and from the system itself.

I think perhaps you were envisioning this as being much more harsh on when you get repeat gains?  You have to get pushed pretty far back before this is even an issue.

I have the same reservation as Chemical art on this.

And, for me at least, that feels like locking the player to whatever he's controlling. I think a more "fluid" concept of territory could be an idea. Have you seen the idea I put on the previous page ?
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Draco18s on September 08, 2016, 03:32:40 PM
Bear in mind that there's a sharp limit to how many square pegs I'm going to try to fit into round holes.  When ZPGs don't work, then they either get shifted to something else or just removed entirely.  I'm not going to gut the game, but I'm also not going to bloat it with things that aren't really needed.

Dyson spheres would be an example of something that changes dramatically, yes.  The idea behind them is awesome at the core, but their model from before is something I'm bored of and always felt was limited anyway.  We can do something richer here.

I definitely understand square pegs. ;)
I was just wondering if they'd been considered yet, and if so, how.

Dyson worlds should absolutely have an incarnation, they're too cool to see cut.  What they do on the other hand (the gameplay mechanics) can definitely be up in the air and jiggled about, even written from whole cloth all over again.  But visually and in some way meaningful for the new system maps will be awesome.

ZPGs are less important (thought: what if they supplied fuel instead of power?) to keep in the game, they just stuck out like a sore thumb.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Toranth on September 08, 2016, 04:05:53 PM
The proposed solar system design sounds neat, but it prompted a new question for me.

Is each gravity well still going to be a (effectively) limited circle of moderate to small size?  Technically, the AI War Classic planets were infinite in size, but because of the Gravity Well building restrictions and the outer well movement speed limit, they were effectively limited circles.  I've been assuming that the same would hold for AIW2's planets - but when thinking about the solar body 'gravity wells' I wasn't sure any more.

Would it be possible to create neutral (aka, uncontrollable) ring-shaped zones in the systems? 
The solar body would be one such around the star (Don't wanna get to close to that sun, no siree).  An asteroid belt could be one in the middle of the system, with wormhole links scattered around the zone.  An Oort-cloud-like ring could be the outside edge of the solar system.  While each of these zones could be limited in thickness, even smaller than AI War Classic Gravity Wells, but due to the long circumference, could end up having a very large total area.

As for the "Why", I'm looking at mixing up the shape of systems, providing more neutral territories, and adding more potential map types, like the Concentric type (one I've always been fond of) for in-system; and the possibility of linking solar systems through the Oort cloud ring instead of the solar body.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: zharmad on September 08, 2016, 04:57:50 PM
<Graphics of gravity well and moving between planets in solar system>
[/quote]
For reference, here are a couple of comparisons:

Stellaris - Clear arrows with dotted line boundaries.
(http://www.stellariswiki.com/images/c/c1/UI_view_system.png)
-------
Stardrive 2 -  Orbits with no boundaries. Solid line jump.
(http://pixeljudge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/galaxy2_SD2.jpg)
-------
Sins - Highlight area within grav well, solid line jump and circle
(http://draginol.stardock.net/images/SinsofaSolarEmpireWalkthru_EA76/image_11.png)
-------
Star Ruler 2 - toy model like, using trade-route like animation between system
(http://www.spacesector.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2-Empire.jpg)
-------


Would it be possible to create neutral (aka, uncontrollable) ring-shaped zones in the systems? 
This would definitely be nice. If it's not in for v1.0, I'd vote for it in an expansion. Allows the possibility of both full asteroid fields, and ring worlds around the sun.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Mckloshiv on September 08, 2016, 05:17:54 PM
Oh would we be able to build Dyson Spheres/Clouds around stars? That would be awesome! :D
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Captain Jack on September 08, 2016, 05:57:22 PM
Oh would we be able to build Dyson Spheres/Clouds around stars? That would be awesome! :D
I don't think AI War humanity has reached that point on the Kardashev scale yet.  ;D
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: tadrinth on September 08, 2016, 07:54:22 PM
Oh hey, you changed Fuel to work exactly as I expected it to in the first place.  Nice!
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Mckloshiv on September 09, 2016, 03:23:38 PM
Oh would we be able to build Dyson Spheres/Clouds around stars? That would be awesome! :D
I don't think AI War humanity has reached that point on the Kardashev scale yet.  ;D

Eh, they have giant spaceships and nukes capable of destroying entire galaxies.... I would think surrounding a star with a million little solar panels would be a simple feat. ;D
Although, reading the energy more carefully, the Dyson Cloud idea would be useless; since it would only power one area.
Title: Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 6: Fuel and Solar Systems v2 (no Orbits)
Post by: Captain Jack on September 09, 2016, 05:43:31 PM
Oh would we be able to build Dyson Spheres/Clouds around stars? That would be awesome! :D
I don't think AI War humanity has reached that point on the Kardashev scale yet.  ;D

Eh, they have giant spaceships and nukes capable of destroying entire galaxies.... I would think surrounding a star with a million little solar panels would be a simple feat. ;D
Although, reading the energy more carefully, the Dyson Cloud idea would be useless; since it would only power one area.
Destroying things is much simpler than cultivating and utilizing them! (Besides for all we know it's a wormhole weapon that doesn't do anything to planets without wormholes)