Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (Full Version)

All Forums >> [New Releases from Matrix Games] >> Distant Worlds Series



Message


Arcatus -> Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/21/2012 7:21:27 PM)

In the recent patches we have seen the introduction of the optimized designs.

I don't like them.

It is too much work, too complicated and too many pitholes. The response on the forum has been very limited, and only a few shipsets has been distributed. Maybe more shipsets will come once the patch looses it's beta tag, but maybe not..

Too me it feels like the optimized designs is a step in the wrong direction, and I know that the developers here take our suggestions seriously, so that is why I have spent quite some time to think trough a new take on the designs.

I have called it "Design Projects"

Attached is a photoshopped image of the new suggested window.

I hope my illustration and the text makes sense.

My goal is to illustrate a simple scalable system where each class of ship has one project. The AI will then base designs on the project. When new tech is researched the design is regenerated based on the rules set by the project.

These rules can be explained as this:

1) Attempt to reach desired speed - but don't add engines to more than x% of total ship cap
2) Attempt to reach desired protection - but don't add shields to more than x% of total ship cap
3) Add x amount of industrial and cargo components
4) Add weapons
5) Add lifesupport and generators to support space and energy requirements

New tech will be added, generators reduced (or increased), lifesupport managed - all without the need of player interference.

This is not intended as a replacement for the existing design interface - it is an addition to it. It should still be possible to finetune more advanced designs, but the basic player (and more importantly - the AI) can use this systematic approach to generate diverse and competitive designs.

I think I'll stop there. I don't want to make this a larger wall of text than it already is.

Is there anything that is unclear? Is this just a silly idea?





[image]local://upfiles/40725/EC1E42F90D0742AC8782ADDC92A66395.jpg[/image]




WiZz -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/21/2012 8:08:11 PM)

Agree with you totally. I also don't understand idea with optimized designs making by players. It's a lot of work, it's difficult to make many designs with mixing level of techs (for example - shield - 1 level, cannons - 2 level, torps - 3 level). I have to say that developers in this way put developers' work of optimizing AI designs on players.




Webbco -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/21/2012 10:03:37 PM)

I like this streamlined approach, Arcatus - would be interesting to see what others think.




onomastikon -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/22/2012 9:46:03 AM)

I completely agree. Not only is it too much work, it is not dynamic.
I would like to see added to the design screen area an "Obsolete this component" section, which would make most of my issues with automatic upgrading irrelevant. (Granted, it would not make the AI use better designs for itself, but I could live with that.) With a simple checkbox, upgrading would never place older, obsolete items in your ships anymore.

Of course, all of this would still be moot if the "automated" upgrading and retrofitting would not function in the future.




Arcatus -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/22/2012 2:19:54 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: onomastikon

I completely agree. Not only is it too much work, it is not dynamic.
I would like to see added to the design screen area an "Obsolete this component" section, which would make most of my issues with automatic upgrading irrelevant. (Granted, it would not make the AI use better designs for itself, but I could live with that.) With a simple checkbox, upgrading would never place older, obsolete items in your ships anymore.

Of course, all of this would still be moot if the "automated" upgrading and retrofitting would not function in the future.


Yes, much can be solved with some tools to make the upgrade function better, but even with the "obsoliete components" I still have to adjust generators, add some new tech, poke at the life support, etc every time I upgrade.

The things I do when I upgrade are just based on simple requirements - If my new high-tech lasers requires more power than the generators can supply I need to add a generator. If that makes my ship unbuildable due to size I need to remove a few lasers.

It almost looks like two if-statements..[;)]

Even if we make things more complicated with different "rules" for different ships (as shown in my illustration above) the end result is a bunch of if-statements combined with some numbers and a bit of basic math.

And a computer is rather good at that...




Litjan -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/22/2012 3:16:30 PM)

I agree - the customized design are just a band-aid for the current AIīs inability to make good designs.

The customized design approach can work for an AI empire - in a roleplaying way. You can put in a sequence of designs that follow a predetermined research path. The AI will research accordingly, to achieve the ability to build the custom designs. But it is not able to follow a different path (i.e. railguns instead of phasers) and it can not react to an enemies technology (i.e. put more armor on if an opponent has good railguns). The whole concept is about as viable as "custom designing" the way evolution evolves the flora and fauna on a planet...

For the player itīs even more complicated. IF he automates ship design AND research, it would work the same way as it would for an AI. But as soon as the human player strays from the predetermined research path, all the custom designs become either not buildable or are simply not the best design currently available.

1.) Distant Worlds needs a design AI that is able to build the very best design currently possible. This includes adjusting to parameters like resources available, enemy designs, galaxy proportions and racial preferences.

2.) Distant Worlds also needs an automation that helps the player maintain and upgrade his fleet in an ergonomic and smart way.

I think the effort would be better spent on improving the two points above than in implementing custom designs. If they help Elliot see some new ideas and design paradigms - all the better. But eventually the AI needs to learn to build great designs dynamically.

Jan





Morelyn -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/22/2012 5:17:57 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Litjan

I agree - the customized design are just a band-aid for the current AIīs inability to make good designs.

The customized design approach can work for an AI empire - in a roleplaying way. You can put in a sequence of designs that follow a predetermined research path. The AI will research accordingly, to achieve the ability to build the custom designs. But it is not able to follow a different path (i.e. railguns instead of phasers) and it can not react to an enemies technology (i.e. put more armor on if an opponent has good railguns). The whole concept is about as viable as "custom designing" the way evolution evolves the flora and fauna on a planet...

For the player itīs even more complicated. IF he automates ship design AND research, it would work the same way as it would for an AI. But as soon as the human player strays from the predetermined research path, all the custom designs become either not buildable or are simply not the best design currently available.

1.) Distant Worlds needs a design AI that is able to build the very best design currently possible. This includes adjusting to parameters like resources available, enemy designs, galaxy proportions and racial preferences.

2.) Distant Worlds also needs an automation that helps the player maintain and upgrade his fleet in an ergonomic and smart way.

I think the effort would be better spent on improving the two points above than in implementing custom designs. If they help Elliot see some new ideas and design paradigms - all the better. But eventually the AI needs to learn to build great designs dynamically.

Jan




Totally agree. Optimized designs are really just a rather cheesy way to attempt to get around the fact that the AI is totally incapable of designing ships.

DW is a great game. If only the AI knew how to play it. The fecklessness of the current AI is what is keeping DW from the bigtime, IMO.





Arcatus -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/22/2012 7:14:45 PM)

The AI isn't all bad.

I just finished a game where I just had to mop up some Zenox to hit my victory conditions. My tech and fleets were superior, but the buggers still managed to hit a weakly defended planet and conquered it!

Well played Zed. Well played.

However - I think we all agree on their (lack) of shipdesigning... Once my fleet got there Zed was dead in seconds...




Sithuk -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/22/2012 8:49:51 PM)

Arcatus: I like that high level ship design strategy screen. I also think it has no chance of making it into Distant Worlds. Maybe for Distant Worlds II.

Nice mock-up though.




Mozo -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/22/2012 11:59:31 PM)

Great idea, really agree and feel strongly that this needs to change. I currently don't design any ships because it is too complicated/too much work - it's the only thing I don't like about this game.




Carolie86 -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/23/2012 3:44:34 AM)

I also don't understand idea with optimized designs making by players[image]http://www.infoocean.info/avatar2.jpg[/image]




Shadow Tiger -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/23/2012 5:20:05 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Arcatus

The AI isn't all bad.

I just finished a game where I just had to mop up some Zenox to hit my victory conditions. My tech and fleets were superior, but the buggers still managed to hit a weakly defended planet and conquered it!

Well played Zed. Well played.

However - I think we all agree on their (lack) of shipdesigning... Once my fleet got there Zed was dead in seconds...


"Who's colony is this?"
"Zeds."
"Who's Zed?"
"Zeds dead baby, Zeds dead." [:D]

Arcatus that's a nice start on the concept you have. I have some ideas to add to it, which I'll get to (with a mockup even) once I feel a bit better. Flu knocked me on my behind this week. The points Litjan made can probably be integrated into the design concept as well.




Shark7 -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/23/2012 2:53:36 PM)

I've always thought that a stand alone program that provides the AI a template to use, rather than a fully defined design would be best.

Like yours above, only it can be done out of game.

Design templates would be (for example):

Weapons 20% (with check boxes that you could use to tell it to use certain weapons or not)
Shields 10%
etc




Shadow Tiger -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/24/2012 11:41:39 AM)

Shark7 you sparked the idea that took this from a jumbled good idea in the wrong place to something interesting. Instead of trying to fit the design project concept into the constraints of the current design screen, why not use the policy interface?

I present for your perusal my take on the Design Policy screen. Keep in mind this would be accessed from the current Designs screen, and would be used to generate AI designs. As conceptualized more fine tuning can always be done manually. The idea is KISS as much as possible. Let the player give the general direction then the AI can go from there. Too specific and things break down as tech level and construction size increase.

The basic idea is to have one design policy per ship role, to make things easy on the AI. I suppose multiple policies for a role are possible, but that could induce headache much like multiple buildable designs can be now.

The preferred/secondary/tertiary weapon choices would be pull downs using the same logic currently used in the Empire Policy. Also the default attack/flee stances would be determined by the Empire Policy. I'm not sure of the best way to determine how much space to devote to weapons. Personally I'm of the opinion it should be a semi-generic option menu of something like: none/low/moderate/heave/nothing but. Similar to how I did the defense emphasis.

A couple other things I don't show in this mockup are station specific components.

Station Specific -
(Gas) Mining Engine (extraction rate: low/medium/high)
Luxury Resource Extractor (extraction rate: low/medium/high)
Construction Yard (1 for construction ship, give specific number for stations and space ports)
Weapon/Energy/HighTech Labs (number of each to use; only show on state designs)


And perhaps most importantly for some players is the list of components to never use on a specific design. That's right, I said specific design. Just to keep it interesting. Much of what would be on this list is already covered in the template. Mainly it's down to weapons and something I know I'm forgetting.

Do Not Use These Components -

Weapon Type(s) (Beam/Phaser/Torpedo/Missle/Area/Ion/?)
Reactor Type (?)
Shield Type (?)
Armor Type (possibly to )
?

Note that this will not set policy for the following types of components:

Automatic items not in policy - (ai default for design)
Command Center
Life Support
Habitation
Commerce Center
Medical Center
Recreation Center
Colonization Module (have 'use extra colonization modules when available?' option)
Weapon/Energy/HighTech Plants (based on number of construction yards)
Cargo Bays
Passenger Compartments


Oh yeah, one more important thing. The idea is that racial tech will override preferences in the template. Otherwise why have it?

That's it, it's late here and I just wanted to get this posted.

EDIT: Troops!! I forgot to add something for the gorram troops! Make a note to pencil it in, I'm going to bed.
EDIT2: Hyperdeny, Hyperblock, Damage Control, Repair Bots. Add those to the Optional category.
[image]local://upfiles/41166/1A0137C5264E46A5A7AB07D5B3345168.jpg[/image]




Falokis -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/24/2012 3:11:22 PM)

That is beautiful, really. The only thing I would add is a size max, also. I don't want my escorts and frigates getting too big. At a % of maximum, you would constantly need to adjust that down. A minimum desired and max desired would be great. Just make the last option "max tech size" or something.




SpectralFremen -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/24/2012 4:17:43 PM)

This is magnificent. Would fix one of the only remaining bugbears I have in this game.




Shark7 -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/24/2012 4:39:39 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shadow Tiger

Shark7 you sparked the idea that took this from a jumbled good idea in the wrong place to something interesting. Instead of trying to fit the design project concept into the constraints of the current design screen, why not use the policy interface?

I present for your perusal my take on the Design Policy screen. Keep in mind this would be accessed from the current Designs screen, and would be used to generate AI designs. As conceptualized more fine tuning can always be done manually. The idea is KISS as much as possible. Let the player give the general direction then the AI can go from there. Too specific and things break down as tech level and construction size increase.

The basic idea is to have one design policy per ship role, to make things easy on the AI. I suppose multiple policies for a role are possible, but that could induce headache much like multiple buildable designs can be now.

The preferred/secondary/tertiary weapon choices would be pull downs using the same logic currently used in the Empire Policy. Also the default attack/flee stances would be determined by the Empire Policy. I'm not sure of the best way to determine how much space to devote to weapons. Personally I'm of the opinion it should be a semi-generic option menu of something like: none/low/moderate/heave/nothing but. Similar to how I did the defense emphasis.

A couple other things I don't show in this mockup are station specific components.

Station Specific -
(Gas) Mining Engine (extraction rate: low/medium/high)
Luxury Resource Extractor (extraction rate: low/medium/high)
Construction Yard (1 for construction ship, give specific number for stations and space ports)
Weapon/Energy/HighTech Labs (number of each to use; only show on state designs)


And perhaps most importantly for some players is the list of components to never use on a specific design. That's right, I said specific design. Just to keep it interesting. Much of what would be on this list is already covered in the template. Mainly it's down to weapons and something I know I'm forgetting.

Do Not Use These Components -

Weapon Type(s) (Beam/Phaser/Torpedo/Missle/Area/Ion/?)
Reactor Type (?)
Shield Type (?)
Armor Type (possibly to )
?

Note that this will not set policy for the following types of components:

Automatic items not in policy - (ai default for design)
Command Center
Life Support
Habitation
Commerce Center
Medical Center
Recreation Center
Colonization Module (have 'use extra colonization modules when available?' option)
Weapon/Energy/HighTech Plants (based on number of construction yards)
Cargo Bays
Passenger Compartments


Oh yeah, one more important thing. The idea is that racial tech will override preferences in the template. Otherwise why have it?

That's it, it's late here and I just wanted to get this posted.

EDIT: Troops!! I forgot to add something for the gorram troops! Make a note to pencil it in, I'm going to bed.
EDIT2: Hyperdeny, Hyperblock, Damage Control, Repair Bots. Add those to the Optional category.
[image]local://upfiles/41166/1A0137C5264E46A5A7AB07D5B3345168.jpg[/image]


Spot On! [sm=Cool-049.gif] You just put into a graphic representation exactly what I'm looking for in a template designer. I don't want to make the specific design for each class (though that can be useful), but rather tell the AI: 'when you build an esocrt, use 65% of available size with this this and this from your best available parts'

Also, you could still use optimized designs with this as well. The optimized designs would be those special 'one off' ships, while the run of the mill designs would use the template. Basically you could use a simple If/Then switch to tell the AI how to handle it:

If Optimized design for X at tech level Y = True,
Then use optimized design;

If Optimized design for X at tech level Y = False,
Then use design policy;

Or something to that effect. (coded by someone who actually knows what he is doing) [;)]




ehsumrell1 -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/24/2012 5:52:25 PM)

Shadow Tiger, VERY NICELY DONE! [sm=happy0065.gif]

I'll send a PM to Elliot to make sure he sees your post on this.

{Breaks from Testing station...runs to Deep Space Communication Panel} [sm=scared0018.gif]




Data -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/24/2012 7:07:35 PM)

A match for Shark.....the force is strong in this one, I sense great things to come. Elliot does not shy away from such awesomeness.
So true that an image is worth a thousand....patches.




Shadow Tiger -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/24/2012 8:57:45 PM)

Thanks for the kudos everyone. Arcatus as well as others gave the idea life, I just fleshed it out for everyone to see. [;)]

Already looking at it I can see quite a few ways to clean up that layout. But then this was a rough sketch to get the idea across.

For ship size it could instead show as: (1500 is max ship size and build lvl 8)
Size Minimum [0-1500] Maximum [0-1500]
Average Size [pulldown]

For cruise/sprint it could be something like: (100 & 250 are arbitrary Holy Cow Thats Fast)
Cruise Minimum [0-100] Maximum [0-100]
Sprint Minimum [0-250] Maximum [0-250]

I forgot docking bays. After thinking about it I'd leave those as automatically configured by AI. Want more? Do a manual design.

Energy Collectors. For these I figure they would be automatic for stations, but default to enough to cover static power usage. Useful on ships that sit idle in systems. There should be an option for stations to use enough to cover max power usage as well (static + shield + weapons).

Come to think of it, things that are required by role will automatically be selected (checked or set to at least 1).

Fighter Bays would be covered under weapons. Troop transports would be number of bays to use, under weapons, options or another section?

One thing to note is that the template would primarily be a guideline (like the Pirates Code). It would be very easy to define a template which would be impossible to build in the early game. In such cases it would be a given that the AI do the best it can, which certain restrictions.

Power requirement: if set to max hyper speed then ALWAYS make sure this is met. Having enough power for weapons/shields/sprint is nice, but can be secondary to other requirements.

Shields: Obviously only useful when there are multiple types of shields available. Perhaps have the secondary option also have 'Use 2 shield types'.

Firepower: This one is the most difficult because it can scale drastically over the course of a game, especially depending on weapons. A very fast attack railgun ship is going to look much different than a slow heavily armed torpedo ship. Fighter bays can be more difficult to design around because their firepower is not shown directly.

~~~~

Whew, enough of that for now! Just a few things I had to get typed while still fresh in my mind.

This would in no way replace optimized designs, which I feel are incredibly useful in a niche fashion (starting ships, specialized designs). The template would override the default AI design logic, while manual/optimized designs would work as they currently do.

Notice I have not added anything in here about resource management. While Litjan made some very good points, I think it would be borrowing trouble to try and integrate resource management with ship design.




RisingSun -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/24/2012 9:15:54 PM)

I would agreed too, since this is 4x RTS and doesnt have time to switch back and fourth while making the perfect designs. Imagine if you were playing with other players.




WiZz -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/24/2012 9:36:06 PM)

Shadow Tiger made a nice improvement to the optimized design interface, but this doesn't fix failed idea with optimized designs at all. These upgrade is for player, not for AI. If this templates would be located in empire politics for every races this makes ai design tactic very predictable and not interesting.

I have a dream about design system from MoO2 [&o] [&o]. There if ai had enough technologies it made effective designs, different every times. But I suppose that my dream never becomes real...




Shadow Tiger -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/24/2012 9:50:09 PM)

WiZz, this idea would be used by the AI instead of optimized designs. What I'm proposing is essentially an empire policy level system. It would be empire wide, and work from game start up to the end game. As for being predictable, that's already the case when every empire uses the same designs.

I can't comment on MoO2, but I do know that you wouldn't have to define everything in the template. And honestly, how many coders did MoO2 have vs DW? I think we've gotten a pretty good game considering the resources involved.




Tophat1812 -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/25/2012 1:30:13 AM)

Shadow Tiger i love this idea and it fits with the game design philosophy. The player is the governmental leader not a shipbuilder,policy is the players scope of work. You brought us right back into proper focus! Thanks.[&o]




Shark7 -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/25/2012 4:55:31 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Shadow Tiger

WiZz, this idea would be used by the AI instead of optimized designs. What I'm proposing is essentially an empire policy level system. It would be empire wide, and work from game start up to the end game. As for being predictable, that's already the case when every empire uses the same designs.

I can't comment on MoO2, but I do know that you wouldn't have to define everything in the template. And honestly, how many coders did MoO2 have vs DW? I think we've gotten a pretty good game considering the resources involved.


In truth, ALL game AI's are predictable. After all, they only do what they are programmed to do.




WiZz -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/25/2012 9:19:19 AM)

If I had played a few game sessions with all races I could see what designs every (or most) race uses, their strong and weak sides, types of weapons on designs and etc. That I mean when told about predictable designs.
As for me, solving of this problem could be creating politics with no binding to defined race.
For example, Boskara in first game got design politics, which concentrating on torpedo weapon. And in second games they got next politics with missile weapon for example.
This method could be bring some surprise into game.




Arcatus -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/25/2012 8:44:11 PM)

Very nice Shadow Tiger!

Very cool that others are picking up on and are improving on my sketch. It starts to look like something that can be seen in the game :)




onomastikon -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/26/2012 8:48:48 AM)

I second this (or twelve it or whatever). I've been wanting something like this for SO LONG. GREAT!!!!

Only two things I would add:

Thing 1: Explicit Choice for "fuel type" (e.g. Caslon or Hydrogen)

Thing 2: some sort of "never" list, such as:

- /checkbox/ NEVER put in /DROP DOWN/ on this type. Common things I would put in here would be, for example, engines of a type I do not want, reactors, planetary bombardment, troop modules, etc.




Shadow Tiger -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/26/2012 10:57:34 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: onomastikon

I second this (or twelve it or whatever). I've been wanting something like this for SO LONG. GREAT!!!!

Only two things I would add:

Thing 1: Explicit Choice for "fuel type" (e.g. Caslon or Hydrogen)

Thing 2: some sort of "never" list, such as:

- /checkbox/ NEVER put in /DROP DOWN/ on this type. Common things I would put in here would be, for example, engines of a type I do not want, reactors, planetary bombardment, troop modules, etc.

I actually considered Thing 1 on my mockup. Went the other route because the only time it really comes up is the mid-game. To stick with Caslon you have to ignore the final reactor, but I can see going that route.

For Thing 2, I mentioned in my later post that it was something I'd forgotten to add to the mockup. Though the way I figured it most of the things you'd want on the list of 'never use this' would be accounted for. It's the weapons, shields and a couple other things that would need a specific list.

Oh hey, now that I look at it I see I also forgot to have the whole 'engine emphasis' idea I'd had. Plus a couple other things I had in my notes.

Thrusters (higher thrust, lower power req)
Beams (range vs power vs phasers)
Torpedos (range vs power)
Missles
Rail Guns (mix types, use only latest?)




Arcatus -> RE: Design Projects - suggestion for a new design mechanic (3/26/2012 11:33:35 AM)

As to determine how much space to reserve to weapons - I don't think it needs to be defined:

Ship size is set to 400
Engines, generators, shields, lifesupport, and all the other stuff a ship needs uses 300 space to reach defined output levels.
That leaves 100 space for weapons.

KISS right?




Page: [1] 2   next >   >>

Valid CSS!




Forum Software © ASPPlayground.NET Advanced Edition 2.4.5 ANSI
3.515625E-02