From: Ontario, Canada
Starlab/Larry: Really enjoying your Lets Play. Well made. You're an excellent narrator and a competent player. I'm up to episode 11.
Thanks. My gameplay does need further refining yet. Great reply here... I'll go through it point by point.
Great to see you focussing on resources: mining locations;optimising designs for available resources; disucssing the strategic implications of resource availability. The resources are one of the reasons why DW is so interesting to play for me.
Agreed. This is why I play such sparse maps. Makes the resource hunt just that much more interesting.
Good to see you setting zero tax rate until a planet pop is at max. The happiness implications for pop growth makes the tax rate such a powerful mechanic for growth. The AI's current tax strategies cripple them unfortunately. Hopefully Shadows will resolve that with more detailed tax policies that we can mod for each AI.
I don't wait until max population, but try to ensure that the colony can support its own space ports, etc. before adjusting the tax rate. I try to keep the population in the 'happy' range as much as possible.
I notice you have some colonies manually set to 1% and 5%, instead of all the non-MAX planets at 0%. Are you using the tax rate percentage as an indicator of how many troops you have queued/built on a planet? Nice way to work around the deficits in the User Interface if so. Erik has already noted that troop management and planetary invasions are getting a lot of focus in Shadows, so hopefully a better troop overview screen will arrive with Shadows.
Yes, initially all new colonies get set to 1%. When I build a space port I bump that rate to 5% until it's built. After that, any colony with a space port gets their tax rate set to multiples of 5% (25%, 45%, 50%, etc.). Any colony with an odd tax rate (11%, 33%, 47%, etc.) indicates there is no space port present.
It's a great visual tool that quickly helps me recognize at a glance what's going on. I touch on this in more detail later in the series.
Have you considered editing the private sector Passenger Transport design to maximise their capacity? The private sector will build a set number of ships per colony owned. To maximise passenger transport capacity in your private fleet you need to maximise capacity on each ship, the private sector will not build more than a fixed number of ships per colony. By maxing the passenger capacity you can really kick start the smaller colony growth by getting your private sector to shift meaningful amounts of seed population from your larger worlds (and those of large nearby AI worlds with lower happiness, if you are allowing them in).
I recognize this as one area of the game I really need to work on - and I have been since that LP. You will see later on that neglecting this DOES hurt me in the resource department.
Also, have you considered setting up state mining ships? You managed the chromium shortage well by other means, but if it was a more critically important resource or your were hamstrung by resource shortage your state mining ships could be useful in resolving the issue.
Hmmm... Good call. Been getting hints of this from other forum posts so will give it a try. Although, with my chromium issue in this game, it was simply a lack of that resource in the first place (Only found 2-3 sources of it anyway). Would extra miners even help in that circumstance?
Starting Colony Spaceports
What about building a basic spaceport design containing the colony development/happiness bonus facilities (including commerce, medical and recreation facilities) at every colony? Do you not do that at the start because the zero tax rate and government bonuses mean you can achieve the max pop growth rate without building a starting spaceport at each colony? Perhaps something that you'd need if you didn't have one of the best government types right at the start like you did in this game, with all the excellent bonuses that Way of the Darkness has? Or perhaps you are conserving resources?
Hmmm... I usually hold off on space ports for new colonies, but you bring up a good technique here. Will give it a whirl...
I notice you are keen on sinking your excess cash into tech research. Specifically into defence related tech and not so much into resource collection / private sector transport related techs. Better mining tech, linked to better private sector transport capacity with faster hyperdrives leads to more resources mined and more distributed to your manuf centres. You can then expand your empire infrastructure and fleet without as many resource constraints.
The strategy of sinking cash into defence research makes sense if there are no bottlenecks on resource locations or private sector distribution. It makes sense to me because then the constraint becomes fuel. Higher defence related tech means more power deployed per unit of fuel expended.
Again, yes, this would have helped this particular game later on. I normally play at a harder difficulty (more aggressive AIs) so defence does tend to get all the attention.
I realise there is a trade-off point between the various strategies, I'd be interested in your views on where the bottlenecks lie in the early to mid game: is it mining rate; number of resource locations; private sector transport fleet capacity and speed?
In most of my games (10x10 - 250 stars) resource and colony locating/acquisitions can be quite challenging. These two things alone make the early years my favourite part of the game. Solving shortfall and bottlenecks it what keeps me interested. (Even if I do it badly! )
I'm really looking forward to your next LP.
I have a short 3-episode being uploaded today featuring Antiscamps Human Revolution Mod. (Showcases how to get your butt kicked in 3.5 years! )
Beyond that I want to really look at fine tuning and implementing some of the points brought up by viewers, like yourself, who have been kind enough to offer their advice and ideas.
I still have miles to go and lots to learn and posting this LP has been instrumental in achieving a better understanding of the game. My next LP will be played MUCH better to due this.
Thanks for your great response!