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Author Topic: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes  (Read 31617 times)

FooF

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #435 on: November 25, 2021, 05:00:26 PM »

@Hiruma Kai

Early-game colonies (what are we defining as "early?") would only work if they funneled combat to the player and generated income. I would love for starter colonies to be especially "ripe" for pirate activity but likewise, a system bounty would just perpetually be in effect until the colony hit a certain size or or other conditions were met. That would make starting a colony a bit of a defense game but also generate income and funnel the player into combat.

And has been said ad nauseum since colonies came out: they've always been a means to end but the end isn't here yet. It is my hope that a true endgame will require a system-spanning empire and the use of hundreds of thousands of credits per month to have a prayer. Until then, colonies will always be a bit purpose-less because nothing in the game currently requires the benefits high-end colonies provide.
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SonnaBanana

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #436 on: November 25, 2021, 06:02:37 PM »

Another idea for Cybernetic Augmentation:

If it's about enhancing the player's high-rankers then what about +1 stability from Admins, in addition to the normal +2 elite skills for officers?
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bobucles

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #437 on: November 25, 2021, 06:31:55 PM »

In terms of "flattening the curve" on colonies, a great deal of colony value comes from bonuses multiplying bonuses. The biggest multiplier of all is accessibility, since it directly controls the planet's share of the market. Most of the other aspects of planet growth are merely "good". Going from size 3 to size 6 roughly doubles industries and the value of a planet (does it really justify millions going into hazard pay?). Adding +1 to production isn't much on its own, reduced costs have very specific value, and stability already got the nerf bat. What really makes a colony BRRRRR is taking all the bonuses in the left, and multiplying it by accessibility on the right. So maybe that situation isn't working out as well as it should?


Would it make sense for accessibility to be more flat, less dependent on modifiers, or perhaps to tie it more into player driven missions? So that way a player CAN advertise the hell out of their planet, but first they have to deliver 8000 fuel to chicomoztoc. Blowing up a merchant fleet to hurt one planet's accessibility for a few months isn't much. Maybe it could be more meaningful to make an "example" of competitive merchants, and effectively strong arm the market into using your own goods. Stuff like that, stuff that ties into blowing ships up and having a good time while still feeding colony play. I mean, players already do this when they wage all out war and start purging the sector, but that's not really applicable in early or mid game.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2021, 06:59:49 PM by bobucles »
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Hiruma Kai

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #438 on: November 26, 2021, 08:45:03 AM »

@Hiruma Kai

Early-game colonies (what are we defining as "early?") would only work if they funneled combat to the player and generated income. I would love for starter colonies to be especially "ripe" for pirate activity but likewise, a system bounty would just perpetually be in effect until the colony hit a certain size or or other conditions were met. That would make starting a colony a bit of a defense game but also generate income and funnel the player into combat.

It's a good question.  An early game colony would presumably be a colony built as soon as you've amassed sufficient credits and ships to create it, and without doing any exploration.  So after you've built up something like 85,000 credits (for supplies, machinery, crew) and perhaps a pair of Nebulas (another 60,000 credits or so).  Could be done after picking up the first 3 Galatia missions from Alviss, as those pay about 55,000 each.

As it stands, once you have ~250,000  credits, you can go over to Penelope and settle Ismara and build a mining industry, which all combined will pull in about 16,000 credit a month with no skills or administrator.  About 6.5% return on investment per month.  If you spend some more and settle Ithaca, that pulls in about 6250 even without industry for 85,000 credits (you already bought the Nebulas, so no need to buy twice).  335,000 gets you 22,000 credits per month, so same return on investment per month.  Which all told is similar to a level 1 commission, and 50% more than the stipend from Galatia.  Investment cost is about 6 Galatia missions.  Growth would be negative on Ismara, and like 1-2% on Ithaca, but we're talking about leveraging colonies to help with early game problems, I think.

Assuming things were "flattened" a factor of 2, so high end fully loaded late game colonies only pull in 250,000, and early game colony income was doubled (which admittedly, was unlikely affected by all the 0.95.1a changes since Commerce really needs other industries, and colony skills were tier 5), we'd be talking about 45,000 credits per month from the Ismara + Ithaca start, for presumably the same investment.  13% return on investment per month (payoff in 7 months).  That's starting to dwarf early game stipend and likely exceeding commission.  If combined with commission, that's starting to hit a passive 100k monthly fairly early on (like level 8 or so).

Assuming people stay away from the hazard pay button when they can't afford it, that looks like there isn't that much room to play with the early game colony profit numbers.  If you eliminate hazard pay or make it trivial even on early game income, then your best course of action every run is to build colonies as early as possible, to grow them as soon as possible.  Currently, hazard pay generally means you build colonies when you can afford the upkeep (or alternatively, you've found an amazing system full of habitable planets, a nice perk of exploration).  In 0.95a, colonies are a choice you have to make as opposed to something that only has net positives after 6 months or whatever of paying off the investment.  You could turn them into something that is expected and take that account into overall player income streams, but I feel like that is changing the nature of colonies and probably means tuning prices and what not for the new expected passive income.

As for the removal of skills and commerce reduction, I'd like to see it in practice, but I don't think it'll affect my play any.  I admit, I was one of those that never grabbed colony skills, so their removal doesn't affect my particular play style.  As for the commerce change, it's probably a 12.5% cut in profitability.  Generally, by the time I'm putting commerce down as the 4th slot, I've got alpha cores and story points to spare, so even without a deal maker, they'll be sitting at +75% instead of +100%.  1.75/2.0 = 0.875, i.e. 12.5% less profit.  Don't think it'll change things much for me, other than flatten out the high end a small amount on my profit colonies.
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Mantas

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #439 on: November 26, 2021, 10:56:41 AM »

Personally, and to the interest of absolutely nobody, I think colonies are mostly fine as is. Colonies aren't designed as an early-game mechanic and trying to build and sustain colonies early is about as practical as trying to battle using a fleet of Mules. The cost of entry informs you of this. Setting up a world to be productive is a large endeavor that consumes time and money. Early game, you're a raggedy captain running a raggedy fleet. It's only somewhere in the mid game that your fleet will have the capability to haul the resources for trades and/or hunt for bounties on a scale that turns a sufficient profit for a properly planned colony to be an option.

Barring Hazard Pay, any singular industry on a small colony pays for itself over the course of a cycle or two and from there it's a net gain. Consequentially, the same goes for the colony. Your dividends only improve if you build your industries smartly. If you build Mining into Refining into Heavy Industry, for example, you're cutting on the cost of materials for each sequential industry. The game helps you here, it informs you of how much your industries are going to produce and how much they require so you can plan ahead. You can build industries out of sequence, but then, you're paying for the imports and having a higher operating cost for your industry, which makes sense and is how industries work in real life.

You can opt to activate hazard pay, but then you're making a conscious decision to go for growth over profit. At which point, you'd be both paying more now to turn a profit later, albeit more quickly, but also complaining that you're paying more now. Which is self-contradicting.

Similarly, if you add a spaceport, ground defenses, a space station, etc, to a growing colony, you're quickly going to overwhelm any profit the colony might have had with the extra costs of the facilities. Again, this a conscious choice being made to turn an otherwise profitable colony into a money-sink.

A similar argument goes for colonies favoring optimization. Take the hazard rating of a colony, for example. You can't force people to live on a naturally non-habitable planet (>=200% hazard rating) and expect it to grow, thrive and turn a profit. It's a world that's naturally hostile to human settlement and operation, so a higher -maybe even forbidding- cost goes in hand. These aren't worlds meant for habitation, they're just planets. You realistically wouldn't build a house anywhere near an active volcano or in the middle of the desert and this is a mechanic that mimics that. Likewise, you can extract more natural resources from resource-rich planets and in turn, turn a greater profit from them. Which is also logical. Worlds better suited for habitation and operation are better suited for habitation and operation. It's not strange at all.

I think people are expecting colonies to be a quick and easy cash-out button without really considering the "fantasy" of what they're doing. They're settling worlds and building and raising infrastructure on a huge scale, with a living population that will then grow organically. Of course it's going to cost a lot of money. Of course a bad rock to colonize is going to cost more than it's worth.
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SCC

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #440 on: November 26, 2021, 11:15:17 AM »

You don't get money you can spend only on colonisation, you can spend money you earn on anything you want. Colonies are one of those things, but they aren't what you do to make money (that being bounty hunting, exploring or trading), they are what you spend money on, at least for several cycles. Though I don't use AI cores or story points and maybe I am not meant to tackle colonies without AI cores (or, at least, not meant to see them as competitive until six cycles into the investment), but I would have rather made them simply require AI cores and story points to make. It would be clearer in that case.
It's hard for me to say how much money colonies should make me, as there's no way to track income and expenses over time.

Amoebka

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #441 on: November 26, 2021, 11:45:42 AM »

The way I see it, colonies were added to the game before there was a use for them, and now they are nerfed into irrelevance until such uses are added, presumably because Alex doesn't want to remove them outright and face the outrage.  :D

The temporary fix that would seem to both shorten the investment times and not make money trivial is to greatly buff colony items without buffing base income rates. That's sort of what 0.95 was going for to begin with, but it wasn't pushed nearly hard enough.

An alpha core is 450.000 credits. If you waste that much on improving an industry instead of selling it, the added benefits better be good. Right now it's +4.000 credits per month from exports. Same for colony boosters proper. Just selling them is better money than actually improving industries.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #442 on: November 26, 2021, 12:42:17 PM »

Alpha core admins make a ton of money, more than enough to pay for themselves, not to mention allowing you to exceed the max governor limit (i.e. entire extra colonies worth of income). Alpha cores in defensive structures can allow you to do whatever you want and not have to babysit, which is QOL but probably worthwhile to a lot of people.

Putting alpha cores in random industries is definitely a 'I have insane passive income so money is meaningless and am farming remnants because I have nothing better to do in the absence of a real end game' situation.

Typically, I will try to save alpha cores for admins (or for officers if I take the remnant ship skill), but I will definitely consider selling them early to afford a particular ship I think will help a lot. Same with blueprints and colony items, I will sell the less important ones for income if there is a specific thing I want to buy (or money is tight).

Usually by mid-game though, I have enough money that I don't need to sell stuff, and can afford to invest for the long term.
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SafariJohn

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #443 on: November 26, 2021, 01:57:17 PM »

I think people are expecting colonies to be a quick and easy cash-out button without really considering the "fantasy" of what they're doing. They're settling worlds and building and raising infrastructure on a huge scale, with a living population that will then grow organically. Of course it's going to cost a lot of money. Of course a bad rock to colonize is going to cost more than it's worth.

I think part of the problem is there are 2 fantasies: settling and conquering. Not exclusive, of course.

Settlers want to grow their colonies, get all the big numbers, and be left alone.

Conquerors want to control the Sector, be self-sufficient, and have a safe place to retreat to. They don't care if their base is a nightmare world - in fact, that probably sounds really cool to them!


Without any way to make money militarily (taxes, raiding, etc.) or change who controls markets or systems right now (besides decivilizing them), conqueror-types are left bashing themselves against systems that aren't designed for what they want to do: conquer.
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bobucles

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #444 on: November 27, 2021, 05:26:22 AM »

Colony building works extremely well with exploration and comfy styles. The sector is filled with treasure, find it and take it home to a colony. Wander around, do some trading and build a colony. There's good times to be had.

Colony building has some combat, but it's mostly weighted towards endgame. The big options are to hunt redacted or purge the sector, with not too much in the middle. Pirates and expeditions are combat events, but they are mostly events that players react to and try to mitigate, rather than goals for players to charge into.  I can see why players consider colonies to be dead weight for most of the game. They're skipping directly to the part where combat stops being reactionary and starts being proactive for colony development, which happens at the end.

Zakaluka

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #445 on: November 27, 2021, 03:22:02 PM »

I don't understand the 'colonies have been nerfed into oblivion' mindset. A planet without optimal placement or attributes, just present in a system with other semi-useful planets, can bring down millions per cycle. That fully developed system with every resource available lets you print expensive ships at a discount.

There have been nerfs but also more and more multiplying bonuses added to the game. An artifact for each industry. More ways to get accessibility. (now slightly pulled back apparently in 0.95.1a with the removal of certain administrator skills)

What's a problem is how they're only useful after dumping resources into them for a long time and going full max with multiplying bonuses. A basic planet with 1 resource should be useful for an early player who can barely afford to set it up. Currently, sure, as above, 7% per month ROI, but that hardly compares to doing missions and building your fleet. Having a colony without defense anchors you to it.
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Thaago

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #446 on: November 27, 2021, 06:00:33 PM »

... Having a colony without defense anchors you to it.

Kind of yes, but also kind of no - a small early game colony attracts no faction expeditions, and pirate raids won't destroy a colony for a long time. Its not needed to have a 'perfect' defense of a colony for it to still be returning money, giving a place to store ships/weapons, and slowly growing into a larger state where a player can lay down later improvements/industries.

I disagree with the idea that colonies will be useless/overnerfed - the incoming changes are pretty minor.
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Wyvern

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #447 on: November 27, 2021, 07:56:27 PM »

... Having a colony without defense anchors you to it.
Kind of yes, but also kind of no
This is one of the reasons I consider having a gate in-system to be mandatory for any colony I make: it vastly simplifies getting back there to deal with whatever incoming problem needs dealing with.

(Now, maybe if the Hypershunt added a new gate in orbit, the way the fusion lamp adds a mini-sun... but it doesn't.)
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Wyvern is 100% correct about the math.

Amoebka

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #448 on: November 28, 2021, 12:33:27 AM »

If a single industry size 3 colony gets raided by pirates, it stops growing and making money for a couple months, delaying the returns even more. At that point it literally does nothing but provide storage space, and you have that for free in core systems.

If colonies are supposed to only exist for players who spend 50+ hours on a single savefile, then sure, there's no issue. I can't see myself building colonies at all next release, especially since production contracts were bugfixed.
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Delta_of_Isaire

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Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (In Development) Patch Notes
« Reply #449 on: November 28, 2021, 02:59:30 AM »

Another wonderful set of patch notes. The quality of these major updates continues to be awesome. It's quite amazing :)


About colonies: I think their profitability / return of investment is fine as it is, though I agree with nerfing Commerce. It is too much of a no-brainer in 0.95.

The biggest problem with colonies is that the game is currently too short to fully enjoy their monetary benefits. It takes time to survey planets to find good ones to develop, then it takes time for them to grow, then time to pay back the invested money. An experienced player will have already reached endgame by the time his colonies reach size 6, and at that point there is very little to spend all that money on. The solution to this is more end-game content / money sinks, which I'm sure we will see eventually :)

Are early colonies a good investment? Let's see. Pick a low-hazard world with farming and mining opportunities. These are the expenses you will want to make:
    - ~100k for crew, supplies and other materials to colonize and build a comm relay
    - ~100k to buy ships to transport the above (pair of nebula's and a freighter)
    - 75k to build Farming
    - 100k to build Mining
    - 100k to build Waystation, so you can resupply at the colony.
    - 250k to build an Orbital station, the most effective defense.
    - 150k to build Ground Defenses, for the stability bonus.
    - 300k for Patrol HQ, so you spawn some ships to deal with straggler pirate fleets, etc.
    - 5k/month for an Administrator with Industrial Planning. Pays for itself so it's a no-brainer.
    - 5-10k/month for Hazard Pay to grow to size 4.
Total: roughly 1.3 million credits all told.

How much money does this colony make? Depends on the quality of resources. Could be anything up to like 70k per month net profit. And that's after everything is build and colony population is at size 4, which could take over a cycle.
At 50k/month, the return of investment takes 26 months.
At 40k/month, it takes 32 months.
At 30k/month, it takes 43 months.

So altogether you're looking at 3-5 cycles before you see any actual profit. By that time an experienced player doing bounties will be lvl 15 and well into midgame. And that's just a basic colony. Further development with Megaport / Star Fortress / Military Base etc will cost millions more. So yeah, proper colonies are not an early-game thing, and fully developing 3-4 colonies isn't even a mid-game thing.

That doesn't mean early colonization can never work though. You could settle a bare-bones colony with only a single industry and no other structures: just Farming, Mining or Tech Mining. And skip Hazard Pay. Then the investment is only 200-300k. It's not something you'd do on just any world, but on a world with good resources like a Terran with Bountiful Farmland or a world with Vast Ruins, it can be worth it. Doubly so if you happen to have Soil Nanites or a Mantle Bore.

Bottom line: fully developed colonies are definitely an endgame thing, but that endgame lacks money sinks so it's mostly for bragging rights. For the time being, colonies themselves are the mid/late-game money sink. On the other hand, an early opportunistic colony can, under the right conditions, pay for itself and provide some benefit. So it's not like colonization is a completely wasted mechanic. I think it is fine.
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