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Author Topic: Colony "Capacity"  (Read 1763 times)

Drone_Fragger

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Colony "Capacity"
« on: November 24, 2018, 04:00:13 PM »

Essentially, every planet now is essentially identical except with some modifiers on them that make them more or less habitable, with accompanying flavour text. Habitability only really effects population growth and the overheads of running the colony (200% habitability = 200% running costs). However, none of these modifiers prevent some very silly occurrences, such as Barren, irradiated planets apparently being capable of housing populations of hundreds of millions without issue, despite the obvious logistical difficulties of running a colony where the environment is described as being "extremely hazardous to even hardened robotics" and people needing to wear bulky hazmat suits to go outside, if ever.

Hence, what I'm suggesting is that planets have a semi-hidden "Capacity" factor which indicates an absolute maximum size that a colony can reach. Any planet that is Habitable automatically has a fairly high capacity, and any planet that needs extensive works to maintain life (huge, underground facilities, floating sky-habitats, etc) generally doesn't. Larger Planets have a higher innate capacity, and smaller planets have a lower innate capacity. Modifiers which have obvious effect have some effect on capacity too. High gravity, for instance, is going to reduce it due to buildings needing to be built lower and taking up more useful land area, Extreme tectonics is going to reduce it by requiring earthquake proof buildings, while similarly, ones like low gravity will increase the capacity. New modifiers could additionally be added which could have combination effects, for example "Deep caves" or similar that increase the planet hazard, but increase it's capacity by a similar amount due to the increased living space. Additionally, a "Colony Expansion" repeatable building could be added that fills a building slot on a colony which increases capacity by some amount, but has operating costs, representing the costs associated with running a giant eco dome on what could be the equivalent of Venus.

Why is this a good idea? Three reasons, Firstly, planet size or even really the type of planet matters very little when setting up a colony, other than it's operating costs, which generally become irrelevant as the colony gets bigger than 5 or 6 and has enough useful exports to fund itself, and becomes even less relevant once you are looting AI cores left right and centre to cut the operating costs by half. By adding a capacity factor, more care needs to be taken about where you situate your main colonies, and what to use as just simply "mining colonies" or similar for collecting or storing  the useful resources you need. You can't simply out grow the operating costs or grow the colony to a point where you're dominating the market anyway if the colony physically can't grow that much.
Secondly, for thematic purposes it feels more natural that colonies be generally situated on planets actually capable of sustaining life, and anything that isn't on a habitable planet is more out of necessity to obtain some kind of material reward for doing so (eg, resource extraction, tech mining, etc).
Thirdly: Flavour. Good quality habitable planets should feel like Gleaming Jewels in a Sea of filth, and even if they don't necessarily have amazing Primary industry stats on them, should still be valuable from the livability and maximum population that can be put to work on secondary industries such as light industry, refining or shipbuilding, even if it's importing everything from your smaller mining colonies that can't maintain a population of more than 4 or 5.
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Deshara

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Re: Colony "Capacity"
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2018, 04:25:51 PM »

some very silly occurrences, such as Barren, irradiated planets apparently being capable of housing populations of hundreds of millions without issue, despite the obvious logistical difficulties of running a colony where the environment is described as being "extremely hazardous to even hardened robotics" and people needing to wear bulky hazmat suits to go outside, if ever.

the game explicitly states in the fluff text of some planets that when presented with hostile, toxic worlds humans will do stuff like burrow into a sinkhole, seal it off at the surface and then live inside that.
Which isn't actually a limit on how many people there can be, it just takes more effort and time to make more room for habitation -- which would be represented in-game with a boon to growth rate and oops that's what's in the game.

I think there could be a case to be made for the profitability of colonies to be adjusted so that you wouldn't want every colony to become large, like by making the cost of Population & Logistics straight up multiplied by the colony size and then multiplied by hazard rating, but that's numbercrafting
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Inventor Raccoon

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Re: Colony "Capacity"
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2018, 07:55:01 PM »

If Sindria can manage a size 7 planet as a barren rock without an atmosphere being constantly bombarded by solar flares, it makes no sense that a player colony can't go above a size 4 or whatever because it's got some earthquakes or "is a bit small".
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XazoTak

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Re: Colony "Capacity"
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2018, 08:52:29 PM »

I think that Aurora 4x had the best approach to colonies of any space game.
You need population to run industries (including terraforming), and you need infrastructure to sustain population with harsher conditions requiring more infrastructure.
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Deshara

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Re: Colony "Capacity"
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2018, 12:52:13 AM »

I think that Aurora 4x had the best approach to colonies of any space game.
You need population to run industries (including terraforming), and you need infrastructure to sustain population with harsher conditions requiring more infrastructure.

I'd appreciate something like that -- where the Population & Logistics base building is really susceptible to hazard rating making its upkeep more expensive, and then tie buildings to population like Civ does so that maxing out a colony's building slots requires growing it to max size, which requires having maxed out logistics size which has an upkeep that multiplies your population size with your base hazard rating to make getting gigantic colonies on terrible terrible worlds, not un-doable but not profitable enough to be worth doing unless it's a thing that you want to do for the sake of it.

as it is the game is just a touch too laissez-faire about planet selection. I appreciate the sandboxy-ness, and how much the game being proc-gen open world complicates the matter of forcing players to make hard choice bc of the possibility of sector generation giving 0 good options, but still you'd think this game that makes you struggle between the pressures of fuel consumption per LY and supply drain and "do I have enough to make it back to the core before I break down?" and "Do I need to mothball some of these ships to stretch my supplies out?" would make deciding the home of thousands of people a touch heftier of a choice -- or at least have some more consequences.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2018, 12:55:11 AM by Deshara »
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King Alfonzo

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Re: Colony "Capacity"
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2018, 01:19:30 AM »

If Sindria can manage a size 7 planet as a barren rock without an atmosphere being constantly bombarded by solar flares, it makes no sense that a player colony can't go above a size 4 or whatever because it's got some earthquakes or "is a bit small".

Wasn't Sindria settled during the Expansion, and all the hive cities were built underground during that time period to avoid the solar flares? I think there's a difference between an established settlement vs. a colony that's been newly founded.

Although it would be interesting to have buildable industries that counter an environmental condition. So Underground Arcologies to dodge Hot/Cold, or Magnetic Disruptor for Strong Field, or Construction Bearuea for High Gravity/Low gravity / Techtonics, or Airlock Tunnels to counter airless / toxic atmosphere / pollution. So you have to think - do I want to build one of these to improve growth and accessibility and take the cost and loss of building slot; or just deal with it?

Deshara

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Re: Colony "Capacity"
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2018, 01:22:16 AM »

I figured out a way that'd make this part of the game bug me less; your first colony starts with the High Command building by default which now isn't an upgrade of the military base but negates both Hazard rating and the option of making a profit -- and in exchange for getting one freebie colony hazard rating matters way more to the extent other colonies can grow.

All attacks on your faction that aren't about market conditions & building presence get targeted at the colony with the HQ. This building has the effect of more or less negating the hazard penalty's affects entirely, with the reasoning of "if it takes extra work to get people to live within commuting distance of their faction's High Command, then, the effort will get put in no matter what". If you put this building on a planet, you can grow a population there more or less no matter what.
The caveat is that the other factions will not allow the High Command colony to turn a profit. The same way that Tariffs are explicitly designed with the intent of making small-scale trade on the open market incapable of turning a profit -- not just from a game dev stand-point but diagetically from the people in SS themselves -- to force players looking to profit from trade to either smuggle or run procurement contracts (bc both are more fun), the other factions will put more pressure (which has a direct monetary cost) onto your HQ the bigger & more potentially profitable it gets. If it makes 100,000 credits a month in profit, a faction will saturate-bomb raid it once a month. If you defeat said raid, the faction will check to see how much losses it inflicted on you and if it's less than what that colony makes a month then they'll send another raid until you're over. And of course there's the option of just paying them off to leave you alone. They're literally extorting you, whichever ones like you the least.

So, your first colony (and whichever you move the HQ onto) is a freebie -- it is free from worrying about physical viability, but also it can't turn you a profit.
All of your other colonies are allowed to turn a profit, but hazard rating matters way more now. You can found a mining colony on an ore-rich rock tidally locked by a pulsar, but unless you're making it your HQ it won't be able to be much more than that before any potential profits you could make from mining and smelting the ore are eaten up by the cost of operating on a hell-rock. So in order to turn said scrap into ships profitably (or into metal if it's important to you to put miscellaneous player buildings on said rock like a waystation bc of its location) you'd need to found another colony for that.
That'd produce two niches; it's worth it to found colonies for resource extraction on resource-rich hell-worlds, and it'd be worth it to found colonies on big empty boring worlds for resource-processing. And if you add in a exponential risk of market raids and ludic sabotage for planets with more buildings in case you find a resource rich paradise and then max out building slots, there wouldn't be a perfect, single-colony galactic empire world the player could build profitably.
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Deshara

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Re: Colony "Capacity"
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2018, 01:24:43 AM »

If Sindria can manage a size 7 planet as a barren rock without an atmosphere being constantly bombarded by solar flares, it makes no sense that a player colony can't go above a size 4 or whatever because it's got some earthquakes or "is a bit small".

Wasn't Sindria settled during the Expansion, and all the hive cities were built underground during that time period to avoid the solar flares? I think there's a difference between an established settlement vs. a colony that's been newly founded.

Although it would be interesting to have buildable industries that counter an environmental condition. So Underground Arcologies to dodge Hot/Cold, or Magnetic Disruptor for Strong Field, or Construction Bearuea for High Gravity/Low gravity / Techtonics, or Airlock Tunnels to counter airless / toxic atmosphere / pollution. So you have to think - do I want to build one of these to improve growth and accessibility and take the cost and loss of building slot; or just deal with it?

I actually would love context-sensitive market condition buildings.
And while we're at it; having too many industry buildings affects the planet's air quality. If the planet is "Habitable" and you build 3 or more industries you get the "Pollution" market condition, and if you max out building slots with every industry you're capable of building you get "Acid World" condition added on.
edit: which would of course increase the hazard rating.
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Drone_Fragger

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Re: Colony "Capacity"
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2018, 05:24:30 AM »

If Sindria can manage a size 7 planet as a barren rock without an atmosphere being constantly bombarded by solar flares, it makes no sense that a player colony can't go above a size 4 or whatever because it's got some earthquakes or "is a bit small".

Wasn't Sindria settled during the Expansion, and all the hive cities were built underground during that time period to avoid the solar flares? I think there's a difference between an established settlement vs. a colony that's been newly founded.

Although it would be interesting to have buildable industries that counter an environmental condition. So Underground Arcologies to dodge Hot/Cold, or Magnetic Disruptor for Strong Field, or Construction Bearuea for High Gravity/Low gravity / Techtonics, or Airlock Tunnels to counter airless / toxic atmosphere / pollution. So you have to think - do I want to build one of these to improve growth and accessibility and take the cost and loss of building slot; or just deal with it?

Indeed, as mentioned there could be other modifiers that planets can generate with that would increase it's capacity, such as in this "Domain Arcologies" or "Cavernous Underground" or similar.

I think that Aurora 4x had the best approach to colonies of any space game.
You need population to run industries (including terraforming), and you need infrastructure to sustain population with harsher conditions requiring more infrastructure.

I'd appreciate something like that -- where the Population & Logistics base building is really susceptible to hazard rating making its upkeep more expensive, and then tie buildings to population like Civ does so that maxing out a colony's building slots requires growing it to max size, which requires having maxed out logistics size which has an upkeep that multiplies your population size with your base hazard rating to make getting gigantic colonies on terrible terrible worlds, not un-doable but not profitable enough to be worth doing unless it's a thing that you want to do for the sake of it.

as it is the game is just a touch too laissez-faire about planet selection. I appreciate the sandboxy-ness, and how much the game being proc-gen open world complicates the matter of forcing players to make hard choice bc of the possibility of sector generation giving 0 good options, but still you'd think this game that makes you struggle between the pressures of fuel consumption per LY and supply drain and "do I have enough to make it back to the core before I break down?" and "Do I need to mothball some of these ships to stretch my supplies out?" would make deciding the home of thousands of people a touch heftier of a choice -- or at least have some more consequences.

That's a pretty good idea too, That way you can get your big metal rocks with people on like sindria, but you're going to have to pay a crapload to do it.
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Megas

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Re: Colony "Capacity"
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2018, 05:54:22 AM »

I figured out a way that'd make this part of the game bug me less; your first colony starts with the High Command building by default which now isn't an upgrade of the military base but negates both Hazard rating and the option of making a profit -- and in exchange for getting one freebie colony hazard rating matters way more to the extent other colonies can grow.
The game already encourages multiple specialist colonies over fewer self-sufficient colonies.  This industry would be overpowered on resource rich worlds that otherwise have huge hazard ratings, especially in systems with a cryosleeper vessels.  I found two systems with sleeper ships and both of them only had planets with +200% or greater hazard.

Come to think of it, I wonder if the planetary shield from the Red Planet blocks hazards resulting from space.  I read it boosts defense, but I wonder if it has other effects.  (I need to get to that red planet soon!)
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Midnight Kitsune

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Re: Colony "Capacity"
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2018, 10:21:24 AM »

Come to think of it, I wonder if the planetary shield from the Red Planet blocks hazards resulting from space.  I read it boosts defense, but I wonder if it has other effects.  (I need to get to that red planet soon!)
Spoiler
No it does not. It is only a defensive structure but it has low upkeep and I think is better than heavy batteries after size 6?
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Megas

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Re: Colony "Capacity"
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2018, 10:25:03 AM »

@ Midnight Kitsune:  I guess something to look forward to.  Just plopped my seventh waystation, inching closer to that red planet.  I will get there!
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