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Making Rare Earths / Metals *actually* rare

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Making Rare Earths / Metals *actually* rare - 5/19/2021 9:11:40 AM   

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While reading a Caveman 2 Cosmos (Civ4 mod) thread about bonuses (natural and manufactured resources), I got this idea :

What if you needed a tech to be able to recycle rare earths/metals from ruins with public recycling facilities ?
Call it "Rare Earths / Metals Recycling", Chemistry seems to be the perfect Tech Group to put it in ? (Involving complex chemical leaching processes or something like that.)

(Until you got that tech, rare earth/metal production of public recycling facilities would get an extraction multiplier of -100%.)
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RE: Making Rare Earths / Metals *actually* rare - 5/19/2021 11:36:31 AM   


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This would likely require additional rebalancing, notably building a first solar power plant is usually what allows a player to expand, but in vast majority of cases the rare metals for it come from ruins. The need to find a rare metal deposit, buy enough rare metals, or get a good fuel source for fossil power plant would be a further speed bump at the start where there's often already a lot of things to juggle. (not that having some downside to solar wouldn't make the game more interesting)

< Message edited by Zanotirn -- 5/19/2021 11:37:29 AM >

(in reply to BlueTemplar)
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RE: Making Rare Earths / Metals *actually* rare - 5/19/2021 11:42:41 AM   


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First of all, Rare Earth Elements is actually a misnomer: "Despite their name, rare-earth elements are relatively plentiful in Earth's crust, with cerium being the 25th most abundant element at 68 parts per million, more abundant than copper. All isotopes of promethium are radioactive, and it does not occur naturally in the earth's crust; however, a trace amount is generated by decay of uranium 238. They are often found in minerals with thorium, and less commonly uranium. Because of their geochemical properties, rare-earth elements are typically dispersed and not often found concentrated in rare-earth minerals. Consequently, economically exploitable ore deposits are sparse (i.e. "rare").[5] The first rare-earth mineral discovered (1787) was gadolinite, a black mineral composed of cerium, yttrium, iron, silicon, and other elements. This mineral was extracted from a mine in the village of Ytterby in Sweden; four of the rare-earth elements bear names derived from this single location."

With the Global sources being so limited, actually recycling is becomming all the rage right now:
"Another recently developed source of rare earths is electronic waste and other wastes that have significant rare-earth components.[90] New advances in recycling technology have made extraction of rare earths from these materials more feasible,[91] and recycling plants are currently operating in Japan, where there is an estimated 300,000 tons of rare earths stored in unused electronics.[92] In France, the Rhodia group is setting up two factories, in La Rochelle and Saint-Fons, that will produce 200 tons of rare earths a year from used fluorescent lamps, magnets and batteries.[93][94] Coal and coal by-products are a potential source of critical elements including rare earth elements (REE) with estimated amounts in the range of 50 million metric tons."
So this does not need any SciFi levels of technology. And this is exactly what the Scavengers do.

< Message edited by zgrssd -- 5/19/2021 11:43:13 AM >

(in reply to BlueTemplar)
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RE: Making Rare Earths / Metals *actually* rare - 5/19/2021 2:17:07 PM   

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Well, yes, "New advances in recycling technology have made extraction of rare earths from these materials more feasible" is exactly what I'm aiming at from the realism perspective.
BTW, I assume that in SE, rare earths/metals might also mean stuff like gold/copper/lead, used in IRL electronics ? (Well, lead not so much any more, but SE starts with simpler techs and less regard for human life.)


From the point of view of balance, yes, one of the goals is to make the fossil power plant relatively more viable. (And as a secondary bonus, it seems like vehicles are a bit too strong now, so raising oil demand would make them a bit less strong ?)

Another goal is to make it a less obvious choice whether to nationalize the starting private scavenging community (which can't extract rare earths/metals) or not.

Yeah, it would be nice if, like for radioactives (and of course metal), a rare metals extraction spot (or, indirectly, an oil field) was actually something worth fighting for !

I just checked, and in the first turn of my current game, it cost 478 credits to buy 100 rare earths/metals for a lvl 1 solar panel field producing 100 energy/round.
(And also 1 machine = 34 credits, while a Power Plant 1 takes 3 machines = 100 credits for 500 energy/round)

Note that there are other potential ways to find rare earths (& machines) early on :
- random free folk settlement discoveries
- two different zone fate cards (IIRC the first one gives regular & rare metals, and the 2nd one gives rare earths, machines and high-tech parts ?)
- in a pinch, scrapping GR units & fate sentinels ?
- scavengers on artifacts sometimes give machines (& high-tech)
- I don't think that I'm forgetting any ?


And for making due without solar OR oil power plant :

ORIGINAL: BlueTemplar
And speaking of *actually* non-guaranteed options, but which might make skipping discovering solar/power plant viable :
- For energy those would be the random assets Geyser Turbines and other LE Mini-Reactors (including guaranteed ones from Major Capitals) and Gravitonic Collector artifacts.

ORIGINAL: BlueTemplar

Those look like balance issues. What's the point then of [...] non-solar ?


But you are not forced. I already gave some examples of situations where it might be viable to go without Power Plant or Solar, at least for a while.

- getting a Model & Staff council and rushing a nearby Major to get its LE reactor and then taking advantage of asset specialization, with higher levels being more efficient.
- getting a Foreign Affairs council and quickly absorbing a nearby minor that has a Geyser Turbine / LE Mini-Reactor in its territory.

Another way is to minimize energy requirements, whether by location or choice :
- open (xeno)farming rather than domes
- scavenging rather than metal & oil mining
- wind traps or rain rather than ice mining
- private oil rather than public oil
- private light industry rather than public industry
- bureaucrat offices rather than high command
- private QoL rather than public QoL


(Though it looks like that Serpentinization is *so* bad, that even this change wouldn't help to make it occasionally viable ?)

< Message edited by BlueTemplar -- 5/19/2021 2:22:05 PM >

(in reply to zgrssd)
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RE: Making Rare Earths / Metals *actually* rare - 5/19/2021 3:28:37 PM   


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Abundance of rares is strongly related to number of ruins. If you want this stuff to be rare don't have many ruins!

The AI spams recycling on all ruins and floods market.

(in reply to BlueTemplar)
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RE: Making Rare Earths / Metals *actually* rare - 5/19/2021 3:41:41 PM   

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In my experience early on basic metal is needed so much that you need anyway to spam recycling on all the ruins you can lay your hands on.
(But it might also be me getting unlucky and not starting with a basic metal spot in both of my games... and spending 1k metal on a power plant probably didn't help ?)

Well, I guess that the abundance of ruins, basic metal, oil and artifact spots could be re-balanced instead... (to keep the other outputs of ruins in roughly the same balance.)
But it wouldn't help with private scavenging and solar balance.

(in reply to bvoid)
Post #: 6
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