Fix/Suggestions: Empire summary, Auto-retrofit, Resorts, Happiness

Distant Worlds is a vast, pausable real-time, 4X space strategy game which models a "living galaxy" with incredible options for replayability and customizability. Experience the full depth and detail of large turn-based strategy games, but with the simplicity and ease of real-time, and on the scale of a massively-multiplayer online game. Now greatly enhanced with the new Universe release, which includes all four previous releases as well as the new Universe expansion!

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Fix/Suggestions: Empire summary, Auto-retrofit, Resorts, Happiness

Post by OzoneGrif_slith »

Hello Matrix, Code Force, Slitherine and players,

I did many tests in the last few days, and noticed a few problems which I would love to see checked and eventually improved.

1- Empire summary

Easy improvement:
Some numbers are instant (income, expenses), some are cumulative through current's year (bonuses). This is confusing.

To fix this, I suggest to have a fixed record of N-1 when the cumulative bonuses are reset (Jan.01)
This N-1 display should be visible on the top-right monetary display, below current's value (Last year Cashflow, Last year Bonuses)

Last year's bonuses just have to be copied before being reset.
Last year's cashflow is the difference between N-1.Jan.01 and N.Jan.01

Commerce Bonus / Shipyard Bonus
These are merged in the "Spaceport Income Bonus".
I think it's important to separate them in two lines so the player knows exactly what's going on.

More difficult improvement :
Statistics and graphs. 'Nuf said... being able to display the evolution through time from the beginning of the game is just pure pleasure and love.

2- Auto-retrofit

It doesn't seem to work the way I expect. It basically only works when you unlock a new research and design is automated.

A bug I found:
With fully-automated ship design on, if the design of a specific type of ship is manual, clicking the "upgrade design automatically" button (on the design screen list) will trigger the automation warning. It shouldn't since this design is manual. The other upgrade buttons won't display this warning.

The Empire policies screen:
Research and Design are grouped together. This is confusing since they have (should have) nothing in common. I would suggest to separate them in their own groups.


My beliefs...
Everytime a research is unlocked *and* if ship design is automated, you may get an auto-retrofit advisor question.
If ship building is automated, this question seems to be bypassed as this advisor will decide to retrofit or not.
I'm not really sure of all this and it's awfully confusing.

What I would expect...
Research's automation is autonomous. It doesn't trigger auto-retrofitting itself. This automation just decides the research path.
Ship design automation has three modes : Off, auto-retrofit only (new), full ship design.
Policies screen has two columns for ship tips: Auto-design (already exists), and auto-retrofit (exists only on the design screen)
Everytime a new design is created, either manually by the player, either by the ship design automation, if the auto-retrofit is activated for this ship type : an advisor request to retrofit these ships from design X to design X+1 popups. Eventually stating the differences (new shield, more energy collectors, etc).
If ship building is automated, then this popup might be managed automatically by this advisor. Add a checkbox on the Policies screen : "Manage auto-retrofits" (and remove it from Research's policy)

3- Resort bases

After many tests and years, nobody understands how they work. They will take population from various civilizations, but the "tourists" (passengers) never return home and never dies. The cash you get from Resort is heavily random and I've seen a Resort with 6,000,000 people on board with a zero revenue!

Many players, from the comments I get around me, just don't use Resorts because they are confusing and a source of stress.

Please review and/or explain how Resort works...

4- Happiness

Keeping your population Happy is easy... very easy... too easy...

A simple fix would be to generate stress from events:
- Pirate facilities? -> unhappyness modifier
- The planet is attacked and the spatioport is taking damage? -> Temporary unhappiness modifier
- The spacioport is destroyed? -> Heavy unhappiness modifier
- Enemy troops managed to reach the planet? -> Heavier unhappiness modifier
- Diplomatically breaking a treaty with a friend and/or a big trade partner? -> Your citizens disagree
- A Resort base has been destroyed with many tourists death onboard? -> Unhappyness for all your colonies, and Diplomatic hit for all civilizations which had their people on your Resort base.

Just these little things would make happiness more thrilling and important to manage correctly.

Thank you for this great game!

PS: When zoomed out at galaxy level, it's very difficult to select a system because the game wants to select bases and ships... even if they are deactivated in the options.
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RE: Fix/Suggestions: Empire summary, Auto-retrofit, Resorts, Happiness

Post by OzoneGrif_slith »

No comments? I'm surprised. Is it good or bad? [:'(]
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RE: Fix/Suggestions: Empire summary, Auto-retrofit, Resorts, Happiness

Post by Bingeling »

People probably thought is is a bit "meh" and too much to read in details ;-)

The economy is indeed confusing. Cashflow is not stable across the year. The AI has issues in judging its real cashflow which typically includes the average bonus income...

I have no issues with retrofitting in the game, but old farts find their way. I feel that the AI suggestion is a prompt to say "Oh, and btw, designs are updated". I believe a lot of the suggestions (like this one) are really the AI saying what i would do if it was in charge.

I find resort bases unreliable and annoying. Some love would not hurt.

Too much happiness evilness when nasty stuff happen, would cripple the losing side in a war, and make manual tax running a nightmare. I would be careful to do drastic things in this area.
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RE: Fix/Suggestions: Empire summary, Auto-retrofit, Resorts, Happiness

Post by OzoneGrif_slith »

Thank you Bingeling.

Do you think these kind of suggestions are useful or a group of devoted people are alreading doing this work to help the developers?
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RE: Fix/Suggestions: Empire summary, Auto-retrofit, Resorts, Happiness

Post by Osito »

I think the post is useful, and it's quite common for posts on this forum to get only a few replies. But you've had 143 reads - hopefully not all yours ;) - and that counts for something. I know the developers read at least some of the posts.

The game is sufficiently complex that it's hard to take an interest in every single aspect. For example, I'm quite interested in the capabilities of the game editor, but that doesn't interest everyone. I don't really have a strong opinion either way on your first three points. However, I do agree that happiness does seem a little too easy to control, as it's not that hard to reach a good level of happiness on large colonies, even with maximum tax rates. I'd like to see what would happen if increased tax rate had a bigger effect on unhappiness. Your suggestions seem interesting too.

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RE: Fix/Suggestions: Empire summary, Auto-retrofit, Resorts, Happiness

Post by fierceking »

certain things auto-retrofit without a new tech.

The civilian ships for example when I manually change the design and wait a few years, you will see them upgrading to the new design.

If you have it set at auto-upgrade then the changes you made will be abandoned to continue it's own previous design and upgrade that previous design.
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