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Author Topic: Players starting their own R&D  (Read 2101 times)

DrTechman42

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Players starting their own R&D
« on: April 29, 2020, 06:30:38 AM »

I understand that such suggestions have already been made, but the most recent one is six years old, so I wanted to see if anything has changed.

So, you have a colony that is a home to a few million people. You have established industry with ships full of goods flying here and there between the worlds of your faction. Why not to gather the brightest minds of these worlds and start a small Research and Development department and put all those vast ruins filled with Domain technology to use?

This being said, after a certain threshold for the infrastructure has been met, the player is given the ability to start refining (and maybe even creating something completely new) stuff. That should be an industry with significant upkeep (to justify the fact that the other factions aren’t doing this too) and that is only buildable on worlds that are large enough. You can start different projects that would enhance the efficiency of either the industry or the military. That could range from Stellaris-like +X% to something to some new and exotic mechanics.

For example: I want to invent a new weapon. First, I pay a substantial amount of money to start the process. Then I am given a statblock for the weapon and the ability to choose a model of the weapon. That could be a few models to choose from (just like the faction flags) and be completely cosmetic or the model could be defined by the stats of the weapon (too difficult to implement though). The stats can be made by using a points pool system and the amount of points can be varied depending on the funding of the R&D (if you want a true wunderwaffe that completely matches your playstyle you’d better be able to pay for it). Once you set up the project, the R&D should start posting you different missions to keep the project moving (we want it to be an engaging lategame experience, right?). Something like “Get us a bunch of transplutonics” or “Hey, there is a red danger beacon nearby, can you go there and scan a few ruins for us?” or “We need to learn more how do the [Redacted] work, can you please go and fight a few of them? Be sure not to destroy it before the scan completes.” (Forcing you to either to out maneuver or to tank all the damage in the process).

After you complete a project, in order to build something you have invented you will need to pay in resources, not only money. It is so because it is almost hand-made and not a simple blueprint that can be easily 3d printed. Maybe you could toss a few Alpha-cores for a few months to make a blueprint.

That’s it. I see it as a long-term investment of time and resources for the players to watch after with a reward that would be worth it. The player’s skills are also likely to affect the process. It also could be nice if there would be some interactions with the other factions. For example, a pirate lord says that he has what your R&D wants and agrees to sell it to you for a large sum of money. You come to an isolated star system far away from the core worlds only to be ambushed by that pirate “We’ve lied that we had had that thing, but you do have the money we want.”
 
Sorry for any mistakes in terms of English. Hope to hear your thoughts and additions.
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Megas

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2020, 07:14:59 AM »

If I have a big colony, I have an army.  I like to see that army to do stuff for me since I am only one guy and there is a lot of stuff to do.  Currently, there are too many things I need to do (i.e., the babysitting problem) because my personal fleet is the only one that can do it.  What is my army doing goofing off at my colonies?  If I cannot send my troops, I should be able to hire someone to do stuff for me.

In other words, fetch quests can be done by my subjects or hirelings, while I get to do fun stuff like explore unknown areas, do special plot stuff, raid core worlds for blueprints, or grind Ordos for treasure.  Not babysit colonies (mine or core worlds) or do mundane fetch quests.  Fetch quests are for low-level grunts, not for a leader if he wants to do more important stuff than play delivery boy.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2020, 07:23:54 AM by Megas »
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DrTechman42

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2020, 07:24:33 AM »

What is my army doing goofing off at my colonies?
Garrison?
I do understand the problem though. Here we are entering the part of lack of engagement/too much micromanagement. I (being a fanatical technophile) am more than capable of sinking hours into that mechanic just because it appeals to me so much.
Fetching? Maybe too much. Hunting exotic stuff in the red beacon star systems? That's the goal for a few paragons in a single fleet.
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Megas

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2020, 07:37:09 AM »

I do not want too much micromanagement.  On the other hand, I do not want to be forced to do too much, and total core kill looks very appealing to cut down on the workload (no more defending helpless core from endless pirates, no more fixing rep from repelling expeditions).  Some management is good if it means saving time in the long run.  Or rather, personally racing from world to pirate base and repeat is micromanagement, since I am personally involved, just using feet and brute strength instead of a balance of commanding my subjects to remove excessive grunt workload off my back and doing more interesting things.

It does not need to involve too much micromanagement.  The noncombatants print money and produce ships and other commodities.  It should not take much to set a hiring policy, pay some extra upkeep, and more stuff happens.

What I would like is telling some of combat fleets to seek-and-destroy annoying targets, like a pirate base, that I do not want to deal with now (because I am more than halfway across the sector toward the red planet, and I do not want to stop and turn back to babysit something).

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Hunting exotic stuff in the red beacon star systems? That's the goal for a few paragons in a single fleet.
That is something the player can do, since people generally do not want to enter a system that has what amounts to a "Danger! No trespassing! (Violators will be punished or killed!)" sign from the Hegemony police.  This kind of falls under exploration and/or high treasure hunting.

Although I prefer to enter such systems to rip off already made tech, or the blueprints to build them out of nothing (like planetary shield).
« Last Edit: April 29, 2020, 07:42:35 AM by Megas »
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FooF

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2020, 08:41:23 AM »

I like the idea, in general...but not for this game.

The issue for me is that an R&D system with those kind of prerequisites, if poorly done, has binary outcomes with the end product it produces. You either get exactly what you want (and make all alternatives obsolete) or you get trash that you throw away. . Both use-cases take away options, not create them. Also, if you end up locking a bunch of hand-crafted "better" [weapons, ships, mods, etc.] behind R&D checkpoints (instead of RNG tables that just turn it into a gambling mini-game), the R&D becomes optimal and therefore, mandatory. If it is an RNG mini-game, or even if the player can hand-select what the item parameters are, the same binary outcome applies.

What you're suggesting sounds more at-home in a 4x game. I admire that you're trying to fit it within the context of "give the player a reason to fight stuff" because that is the the ultimate goal of the game, but it's a mechanic/system that potentially creates a lot of art, UI, and scripting assets for marginal gain if the end-products of the mechanic/system aren't really balanced (which is more work) and "Fun(TM)" enough that most players will use it. I would probably use such a system, if it existed, but it would create micro-management and Alex is ahem...less than thrilled...with any kind of mini-games.

Unless, of course, I'm just not understanding the suggestion.

Good idea: just a lot of work to implement that I think could be spent elsewhere for greater overall gain.
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Eji1700

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2020, 10:44:08 AM »

I think your proposed version is too detailed/granular for what star sector is going for, but I would like to see something between "i have a colony and access to nothing special" to "i found a blueprint kit and now have literally everything".  I will almost always get my colony off the ground at the point i have 2/3rds of the possible blueprints.  There's never any "well i guess my fleet's relying on ventures for now" because i've already got everything else by then. Further if I for some reason could only use them, the only way to find more is to go raid/explore.

Having another avenue to unlock/use weapon/ship blueprints might help the end game loop, which is currently

1. Explore to find things
2. Throw money at a colony until it can build things
3. Throw money at building it.
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Mordodrukow

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2020, 02:04:51 PM »

Imo, the game could have some sort of research. We have a lot of domain-era stuff to analyze and try to reinvent it. The closest example to compare is Rimworld tech tree: some stuff can affect your combat abilities, some can improve your quality of life. And some lead to the main goal: trying to leave.

Sector here is just like any planet in rimworld: you trapped here, but can research to break free. Or at least find out why the gates were turned off. It can be that "end of game" point so many people are asking for. It is pretty nominal and doesnt change the main idea of the game: being a sandbox. But it adds new axis to gameplay.

Also it explains why factions looking for survey data. Right now they create missions just because. In Nex they colonise planets at least... In vanilla they just have some money they want to give you. Real existing data can be the answer. Also it can be exchanged for other data or for resources maybe, which means real diplomacy.

It is really good idea, which can make the game way better if done properly.
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FooF

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2020, 05:57:05 PM »

With the caveat of "gameplay>realism/lore", the lore does makes clear that though the Sector uses Domain tech, for the most part, no one understands how it works and it might as well be magitec. Reverse-engineering it really isn't in the cards anymore.

Again, we're going into 4x territory if Research leads to Diplomacy which leads to Dynamic Factions, etc. and I just don't think the game is going that direction.
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Eji1700

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2020, 09:13:27 PM »

With the caveat of "gameplay>realism/lore", the lore does makes clear that though the Sector uses Domain tech, for the most part, no one understands how it works and it might as well be magitec. Reverse-engineering it really isn't in the cards anymore.

Again, we're going into 4x territory if Research leads to Diplomacy which leads to Dynamic Factions, etc. and I just don't think the game is going that direction.
I mean it takes a single line like "and so because we don't really get this we'll be flipping switches, turning knobs, and throwing levers until we understand it better so it's going to be a few weeks before they don't come out upside down or hot pink.
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Mordodrukow

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2020, 04:21:15 AM »

Quote
lore does makes clear that though the Sector uses Domain tech, for the most part, no one understands how it works
It doesnt mean that the sector is filled with apes who dont want to make situation better but only to eat, breed and kill each other. I m not trying to say that few scientists can get together on weekend in garage to take paragon and find out everything about it. Yes, it might take a lot of time, but come on... if everybody knows nothing, why somebody have skills like Loadout design? Or how pirates and ludds reshape hulls? Or how do we create comm relays for FTL communication almost from pure metals? This is not Might&Magic setting where everybody really degraded to dwarfs and elves.

Also, if FTL communication exists, why dont we get any messages from outside the sector? And a lot more questions... I hope, someday the lore will be gathered together and translated, because it is possible that my understanding of language just doesnt allow me to see the real picture. But till that the lore looks pretty fabulously for me. Unless you pretend that SS is like Mad Max in a space ("People and fuel are treasure in this world. What must we do? Lets waste em in pointless road fights!" Pretty idiotic, imo... But at least it could explain the AI behavior here...)
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Megas

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2020, 06:21:18 AM »

It doesnt mean that the sector is filled with apes who dont want to make situation better but only to eat, breed and kill each other.
With current gameplay, it is worse than that.  The sector is a pirate zombie apocalypse.

Quote
Unless you pretend that SS is like Mad Max in a space ("People and fuel are treasure in this world. What must we do? Lets waste em in pointless road fights!" Pretty idiotic, imo... But at least it could explain the AI behavior here...)
It reminds me more like High Plains Drifter.  The pirates are outlaws, and the core worlds you may try to save are the cowardly and treacherous mining town.  The player is Clint Eastwood riding into town to take out the outlaws and get the cowards to paint their town red.
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FooF

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2020, 06:42:52 AM »

A lot of the inspiration for the Lore comes from Sci-Fi that deal with the topic of collapse. The only one I've gotten around to is the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons but if that's any indicator, the Collapse was complete, though after about 400 years, society is just beginning to re-connect.

It's not that humans all of a sudden become dumb, it's just that Pre-Collapse, everyone took for granted how things worked or AI was doing all the heavy-lifting and there wasn't a single human that had comprehensive knowledge of how specific technologies worked. The Gates in Hyperion, for example, were completely AI-controlled but everyone used them multiple times a day and society was built around them. However, when [events] cause the gates to fail, humanity has no way of re-opening them and even hundreds of years later, they're just relics of a bygone era that no one seriously believes will ever work again. It sets society back 500 years and makes the whole human civilization re-evaluate how to live.

That's a similar setting that Starsector is in. The tech the Sector is using is degraded and/or derivitave and though R&D still occurs, the best the scientists of the Sector have to offer pales in comparison to the Domain tech they're currently using or, more importantly, finding via exploration and scavenging missions. It's like Warhammer 40k where the Mechanicus isn't inventing anything new but STCs (Standard Template Constructs) from the "Golden Age" are occasionally found and though no one knows how they work, they are able to produce extremely powerful stuff. It's likely a more efficient/profitable endeavor to find Domain tech than it is to invent stuff to rival it (which no one can anymore, anyway).

Yes, it's a bleak setting but that's where we are.

Also, aren't Story Points doing some of the things that this hypothetical R&D industry is doing? Improving individual ships, giving bonuses, making things more efficient, etc.?
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Mordodrukow

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2020, 07:20:57 AM »

Yes, i remember about the pirates >_>

Even in Clint Eastwood times there was some development and inventing. More to say, in sector we have never ending wars between factions. War (if it doesnt lead to total extermination) always pushes thechnologies forward.

Also we have Tri-tachyon corp, which by its nature tries to outsmart others. Just checked wiki: they literally collecting relics, researching and trying to reactivate the gates.

Argument about gameplay is more viable. But i understand that. Thats why i m saying that tech integration must be done properly, because it defenetely affect the game, and we want positive changes to be bigger than negative (i also understand that "positive" and "negative" here can be subjective).

Quote
Also, aren't Story Points doing some of the things that this hypothetical R&D industry is doing? Improving individual ships, giving bonuses, making things more efficient, etc.?
For me the story points look more like "breaking the rules" than R&D. I dont suggest rule breaking, i suggest the new side of gameplay. Currently we have two layers: economy and fleet power. Nothing else.

Why to explore, for example? You can steal forge from other faction. The same for synchro core. Thats for friendly fleets. For your own fleet you dont need even that, because you can just buy/capture few paragons and do what you want. The only unique thing in sector is planetary shield and you even dont need to put any effort finding it.

Why to trade, if you can earn money from colonies? I used trade (i mean: buying goods to sell em for profit, not just selling loot) only once: during beginners quests on my first playthrough. You need money? Just kill few pirate stations for bounty.

There are a lot of activites, but all of them make sense only if you want to roleplay. I dont want to roleplay. I want roleplay and gameplay. Few weeks ago i started to play Terraria (again). Its also sandbox. And it has some activities, like fishing, building ect. And all of them make sense, you know... So, it is not an argument that SS is a sandbox.
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Megas

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2020, 08:29:01 AM »

A reason why I called current Starsector like High Plains Drifter is because of the invincible zombie pirates, core worlds post bounties against pirates (but do nothing themselves to stop pirate raids and bases if no one answers the call), and if the player manages to keep them at bay and save core worlds, most of them thank you by trying to burn your colonies to the ground with endless expeditions, which happen to be bigger than their system defense fleets or anything else they may send against other enemies.  Cowardly and treacherous.  No wonder why I like total core kill as the solution to the babysitting problem.

I do not care what time they are in if the people are running scared from relentless zombies (that also happen to be pirates yelling "ARRR! BRAINS! ARRR! GOLD BRAINS!!!") or hiding in a corner wetting themselves out of fear.

Hopefully, the next release of Starsector will play more like its intended lore instead of being a survivor or zombie lord in a zombie apocalypse.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 08:35:38 AM by Megas »
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DrTechman42

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Re: Players starting their own R&D
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2020, 11:50:02 PM »

Sector here is just like any planet in Rimworld: you trapped here, but can research to break free.
This. We actually have multiple situations of collapse, like Kenshi and Rimworld, where R&D (or no D) still goes on. We are already capable of building a ship (after finding a blueprint) and proudly saying "I've built this!". Why not to make a step further and say "I've created and built this!"?

Right now, we have Economy, Warfare and Diplomacy (with the help of Nexerelin). Why not to add another layer?

Also, remember the quest for an academic that asks you to get him an Alpha core? Some stuff is going on already; we just can't interact with it.
We can go even deeper. We can create two paths: 1) go on your own 2) let the AI go on and use the result. 1) can take a huge amount of time and money; 2) can be faster and cheaper, but it could lead us to Crying Suns scenario.
 
What you're suggesting sounds more at-home in a 4x game.

You sound like that's something bad (made by the 2000+ hours in 4X gang)
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