Some suggestions for how the transport network could be improved. I have in general tried to make minimal suggestions that might be includable in the current mechanism rather than coming from an ideal network and then trying to work out how to implement it. A couple of these should be dead easy to do; some may be harder or not be doable all at. (I don't 'directly' touch the hardest bit - what to transport - because I don't really know how that works. )
- Luxury vs. strategic resource transport missions could be prioritised, at least partly, by current empire cashflow. Having abundant cashflow would tilt deliveries towards strategic resources, low or negative cashflow towards luxuries. If not cashflow then some other index may be useful. (This would help with tranporting luxuries when they are needed and strategic resources when they are likely to be needed. The devil is in the detail of the actual weightings, how much income, how much preference for luxuries...)
- Transport missions for a given resource should be weighted by the amount of resources available over the travel distance to supply those resources. (Longer journeys should be weighted against, for example needing 3 times the amount of goods to balance double the distance. The exact factor is a devilish detail but some sort of exponential of distance suggests itself.)
- The travel distance to take into account is the sum of the distance from the freighters current location to the source and the distance from the source to the delivery point. (If possible this 'distance' weighting could use the drive characteristics of the ship, meaning speed + jump initiation time and be concerned with travel times. Hence ships with Kaldos drives would tend to seek closer sources and those with Equinox more distant ones, relatively speaking.)
- Once a transport mission is assigned for a demand at a location there should be a weighting against another such mission being assigned (or if this exists already its strength should be increased). It should not be an insurmountable weighting but it should be strong enough that a significant proportion of the available freighters are not transporting the same good to the same location.
- Transport of full, or fuller loads should be given a greater weighting. Similarly freighters should be less likely to transport small amounts of cargo. Perhaps because of their speed of extraction gases should be treated somewhat differently than other resources, having a higher 'big load' weighting. (Perhaps also a mechanism could be introduced where a freighter collecting cargo assesses the reserves at its loading location and the demands at its destination and may then add additional cargo to its transport.)
- The priority of transport of resources from mine to spaceport once the mine has a substantial percentage of their cargo bays full should be increased, particulary when the resources are in demand empire wide.
- Fuel at colonies. Colonies should maintain a basic level of fuel which is unreservable for transport. It should be a high priority to maintain this level. (In my last two games it is common to have an invaded independent have all its fuel reserved on conquest. So no fuel for fleets or incoming/outgoing freighters. It has also often been the case that newly founded colonies will quickly have all their fuel stock reserved for transport. I'm not sure how much it would mess with the galactic economy but I would also like to see the minimum levels of fuel that colonies try to maintain increased somewhat.) This also applies to independents.
- The priority of transporting resources from new colonies should be dropped markedly. If the resources that they possess are in demand in the empire then they should be treated pretty much the same as any other source (maybe just a slight weighting against?). However if the resources that they possess are not in demand then their transport to a spaceport should be a very low - the lowest? - priority. If the colony concerned is building a spaceport there should be an increased weighting against transporting the goods off world.
- Reservations should not be cleared when they have not been picked up and a ship remains assigned to the mission to collect the reserved cargo. (I have observed the clearing phenomenon with two ultra-rare sources leading to multiple bookings of the same stock. I believe that this 'clearing' is also responsible for cases where ships that have been sent to refuel at gas mines arrive to have their mission cancelled since all the fuel is now reserved to other ships even though they made reservations before travelling there. This may be the cause of many more problems in the transport network but it is harder to observe in other cases.)
Hope some of that might be of use.
< Message edited by feelotraveller -- 9/18/2012 11:10:16 AM >