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On Cost and Time.

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On Cost and Time. - 3/24/2013 5:39:28 PM   


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Second post!

All right, I did my research through a search and found one thread from 2010 speaking about this, but I did not want to resurrect it (I do not know how is that considered on these forums). The subject would be the pace of Distant Worlds.

I've been playing this game for the past weeks and I'm enjoying it a lot, but I am kind of a hardcore player and some thoughts have come to my mind these days regarding Research Times and Choices, Cost of Production, Building Speed, Exploration and Social Interaction.

- Research Times and Choices: I feel the research tree is very small for a game of this size, but this is nothing new, I know. Many people have stated that before, but I would like to add my own ideas to what could be improved. One of the main problems, as I see it, is that there are too few technologies and it's very easy to research them, either by lab research or by reverse engineering of abandoned or pirate ships. Taking, for example, the reverse engineering process, I feel that dismantling alien technology should not give an instant knowledge of that technology. Maybe the newly acquired and more advanced ship parts could lead a scientist or group of scientists to open new research projects that were not present in the current technology tree. Maybe some event could be triggered to choose from a range of new research lines that could lead to success or failure, but that would take a big amount of time. Maybe during the research of one of those lines an accident would occur, killing a scientist or even destroying a whole research centre. These lines of research would take so much time to be completed that researching every tech in the tree would be not possible at all unless you played a super long game. That would lead to different empires with distinct technology, and would make the game much more strategically interesting.

- Cost of Production: my ideas are not very complex on this, so I will just say that the costs of building should be increased to discourage building like if there were no tomorrow.

- Building Speed: as it is now, the game lets you produce 5, 10 or 100 survey stations in 5 minutes if you have 5, 10 or 100 constructors available, making each of those bases a simple and forgettable anecdote. I would love to reverse this and make each of those bases a huge, long and worthy investment, so that losing one of them would be something that hurt. Building speed is too fast for a game of galactic size. I have so many bases that I have either built or captured that I can not keep track of all of them. I just forget about them and they only help my with the logistics when refuelling/repairing or retrofitting/retiring. Pirates should try to take stations back. Building times for ships should escalate exponentially. A scout, for example, could be assembled in a reasonable amount of time, but a capital ship should be a day in history for your empire, not just Capital Ship 0027.

- Exploration: I've read about this in another thread and I will just repeat it here, because it made so much sense for me. Ruins should not give an instant result by just approaching them. Maybe, a nice idea would be to have to send a scientist or intelligence agent or an agent of different kind to investigate the ruins, with random outcomes affected by agent quality and other factors. Each ruin would be either an investment, a disaster or just an anecdote.

- Social Interaction: I will divide this in two ideas. Different tongues and more xenophobia. I think that being able to speak with any space creature you find in the galaxy since the start is not immersing. I would like to feel fear of some races simply because I don't understand what they are saying. Languages could be a different line of research, opening new possibilities while you encounter new species throughout the galaxy. Maybe some of those languages would just be impossible to research in one game, leaving some empires isolated from you just because of the impossibility of understanding each other. The other part of this point, the xenophobia part, would imply empires being much more aggressive when invading their borders, even with exploration ships and spicing it a little with language complications. Friendly relations would be something to really take care of.

So, summarizing, the aim of my idea is to make each little step on this game to really count and make you feel like if you really achieved a great victory or suffered a terrible disaster.

I'm just sharing my opinions, of course, I'm really enjoying the game as it is, but adding these things would make it so much interesting for me. :)

Thanks for reading, anyway, and cheers.
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RE: On Cost and Time. - 3/24/2013 6:05:58 PM   


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Research time etc. - Could use more choices, and things are a bit fast. Reverse engineering is indeed rather swift, perhaps less options to reverse engineer found ships and have only the one occasional salvage project going (which should also tie up resources from your main research paths).

Cost of Production - Either certain resources could be more scarce (and lower tech equipment should require less complicated sets of resources) or building costs could be increased a bit. As it stands now, defending your empire proper while also being able to field a few strikeforces and assault groups requires a fair bit of money and seems to be balanced enough that you don't hate yourself trying to earn more income.

Building speed - I'm torn on this, slower build times requires more constructors which requires a lot more money to invest. Yes, it would make things more important, but a monitoring station/mining base shouldn't take very long to build. A large star port or starbase in the middle of nowhere (size 1200 and above)? Sure. But if mining stations took ten minutes RT to build and monitoring stations (think small outpost equipped with powerful radars and a skeleton crew) took 20 minutes RT to build the game would be a lot less fun (while resources are abundant, they are abundant precisely because of the "speed" and ubiquity of your civilian enterprises, take that away and I'm reasonably sure you're going to lose an enormous amount of construction capability). As for ship building speeds, exploration ships shouldn't take very long, a week of game time at most. Capital ships should take a long time, maybe a a few months, but only if their importance is increased to match. I.e., capital ships, carriers, and cruisers shouldn't replace escorts frigates and detroyers late game, they should complement them.

Exploration - Ruins could certainly afford to be more interesting and also much more rare.

Diplomacy - Diplomacy needs to be fleshed out before you can have language barriers and actual border conflicts.

(in reply to Kellavar)
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RE: On Cost and Time. - 3/24/2013 7:44:54 PM   


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Of course I'm not saying this is how the game should be, but how I would like it to be. The solution, for me, would be options. Options to configure it the way each one wants. I am aware that this would need a tremendous amount of work for the AI to work with each setting and for balancing things.

But, hey! I'm just dreaming. :)

< Message edited by Kellavar -- 3/24/2013 8:36:11 PM >

(in reply to kenright)
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RE: On Cost and Time. - 3/25/2013 11:15:38 AM   


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Toying with the research cost slider, can give very different games. I think the game as it is allows for different styles of play, but there for sure are issues whatever way you play...

As for speed. My games are typically "over" around the time I reach the late game techs. For instance torrent drive. At that point they tend to be "won", meaning the opposition does not seem a major threat anymore.

If the research is normal, rather than slow, very slow, or slower... The main battles happen with more tech available.

(in reply to Kellavar)
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RE: On Cost and Time. - 3/28/2013 12:21:26 AM   

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I'm going to go meta and say this: you should really break these disparate issues into separate threads. I mean do you want to talk about research in this thread? Exploration? Colony Policy? What? Cause I ain't gonna try to follow 5 conversations at once in one thread, let alone think about them. This is like derailing your own thread before it even starts. Next time, compartmentalize please.

Or you can necro the old threads. There's nothing wrong with that IMO.

Sorry to pick on your thread specifically. It's nothing personal and I am not angry at you or anyone else. This thread isn't even the worst offender I have seen. Just tired is all.

(in reply to Bingeling)
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RE: On Cost and Time. - 3/28/2013 11:59:36 AM   


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Wow, I was hoping fresh air for debate, and what I find is a door slaming in my face. xD

Ok, don't worry, it seems I arrived in the wrong moment to the forums, anyway.

(in reply to jpwrunyan)
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RE: On Cost and Time. - 3/28/2013 2:25:45 PM   

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I suspect many of the friendly helpful types are engrossed with the beta for shadows at the moment.  Some interesting ideas.  Personally I think that-

1) Research tree is more than long enough for the game when I play on 480k costs.  Used to play 999k in RotS but find this too slow in Legends.  But vary according to the speed which works for you.  As to choices I find that there aren't many no brainers.  Okay there are a couple but generally I'm torn about wanting to research several things which I 'need' right away.  (Looks like the tech tree will be somewhat larger in Shadows as well. )

2) Production is too easy in my opinion because money is too available.  In fact I find resource shortages restrict me more, at least earlier in the game.  Playing with a harsh homeworld makes this somewhat better in the early game but it still blows out pretty quickly.

3) Building speed.  Bases, I like lots of them and disposable ones.    At least the mining ones although occasionally undisposables for ultra-rares or maybe carbon fibre or only known instance of a luxury.  The ease of construction (it does take months...) is connected to the above point; with a much tighter economy supporting lots of construction ships would become a vexed choice between constructability and defendability.  I like the way that size does not make ships that much more expensive to build or maintain and that build times are linear rather than exponential.  But yeah, it is a game of massive numbers of ships/bases.  If you don't want that it is probably not the game for you, or maybe you need to play a smallest galaxy, least number of stars, rare inhabitable worlds game?

4) Wishlist it.    But first add a glowing write up of why this is such a cool feature that the developers should put it at the top of their list...

5)  Another interesting idea.  Not sure how the linguisic difficulties would fit with the galactic lore though?  Some of the diplomatic facets are modeled with the 'we don't understand your strange alien ways' penalty.

Time for me to go back to hiding under an asteroid field... 

(in reply to Kellavar)
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