2017-09-25 Tech Level Nerf

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2017-09-25 Tech Level Nerf

Postby Haxus » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:46 pm

I am currently testing a huge change to the game rules, the removal of tech level. That strange ambiguous arbitrary number is gone, "finally" some will say. Others will hate me and curse the day I callously threw everyone back into the stone age.

Some spacecraft designs, and maybe a few other things, are going to break as a result.

This list of changes is entirely related to the removal/replacement of tech levels.

Tech Level
Things that were formerly enhanced by TL are now affected by Quality instead. The range of values for TL was 1 to 32; the range for Q is 1 to 255.

Formerly, TL enhanced things at the rate of 5% per TL, starting at 1x at TL1 and increasing to 2.55x at TL32. Now, things increase from .5x at Q1(Flawed) to 1x at Q75(Poor) to 5x at Q255(Perfect).

All qualities of natural resources are now potentially useful. Previously, some of them were mostly useless if they did not meet a certain quality/TL threshold.

Commodities
Tech level was removed from all existing commodities. The quality they stored remains unchanged, so you will likely end up possessing items at a much higher Q than you can currently manufacture.

This is significant for Technology objects. There is currently a glut of high Q technology in the universe that will be beyond anyone's current ability to produce for a long time. That technology will enable holders of it to quickly get back to where they were. Should I nerf all existing technology objects, or just let them ride?

Warp drive module was split into 9 different modules: warp 1 through warp 9. Warp drive modules can operate at lower warp speeds than their rating so a warp 4 module can go warp 1, warp 2, warp 3 and warp 4. All existing warp drives are now warp 1 modules, regardless of their former TL.

Wormhole drive module was split into 3 different modules: P, PN, and PNN, indicating the polarities available, positive, negative and neutral. (PN is positive/negative as there is no positive/neutral drive). All existing wormhole drives are now wormhole P drives, regardless of their former TL.

Patents
Patent objects were added to encapsulate the knowledge of how to do things. They provide access to manufacturing processes at industries. Previously, all manufacturing processes were available to all empires. Now you must develop them. Development is hierarchical, forming a tech tree as some have requested, so development of warp 1 must precede development of warp 2, etc.

Patent development is done by an industry or by a university. Patent development processes tend to mimic the corresponding manufacturing process, except that some money is required and it takes longer. One run of the process develops a single prototype. A test is made against the quality of the prototype. If it passes, the patent is recorded with the city at the quality of the prototype. (The quality test is the same one used whenever a commodity is subject to quality testing, like when using an item or when fetching materials.) Significantly, development of a patented process cannot begin until the materials needed are in hand.

Patents do not accumulate by the thousands in city inventories. Patents are not traded between cities like other commodities. Instead, each city maintains a list of known patents and their highest quality. That list is reported in the city report. The knowledge is held by the populace, in the form of books and manuals and know-how. Once a city has knowledge of a patent, it cannot be removed from that city.

Any person in the chain of command of a city can request copies of patents, by going to a university and at industries. When doing so at a university, any patent recorded in the city can be requested. At an industry, only patents that can be used by the industry can be requested. When requesting patents, you can get them at a lower Q than the city stores. Patents cannot be requested from a city that is occupied or under attack.

Any person in possession of a patent can record that patent at any city, by going to a university or an industry. Any patent can be recorded at any industry and they can be recorded in multiples if you possess lots of them. Patents cannot be recorded at a city that is occupied or under attack.

The UI for getting and recording patents is on the manufacturing page of the building window.

When choosing a manufacturing process for an industry, patented processes are not listed if the city does not possess the patent.

In order to keep things functioning somewhat, some fixup code will execute when this update is posted. Cities that are currently running patented processes will automatically record a Q1 patent for those processes.

Thus your knowledge of how to do things must be developed, in the form of patents. That knowledge is disseminated by authorized people. It can be captured by the enemy. And it can be lost to your empire.

Technology Commodities
Technology objects represent all forms of media and things: movies, books, magazines, technical publications, trade journals, TVs, toasters, cell phones, and all those things that spread knowledge and generally advance the quality of life and productivity.

The effect of Technology objects is now based on their quality, as they no longer have TL. They continue to have the same effect on buildings, raising their Q to the level of the technology. This increase is no longer limited to increments of one when using alien technology objects; technology now works the same on alien buildings as domestic buildings.

Technology development is no longer based on a dice roll. There is no longer a reason to build lots of universities to get it done faster. When originally implemented, it was supposed to take one year to reach TL32. At the last game reset, I think it took Syndicate less than two weeks to reach TL32, mainly because they understood that if the system is based on dice rolls you just have to roll more dice. :lol:

Technology is now developed at 15 minutes per Q. So, to develop Q2, starting from Q1, it takes 15 min. The next step from Q2 to Q3 takes 30 min, Q3 to Q4 is 45 min, etc. It is predictable.

Technology development cost is now shared by the citizens. If they have the money, they will pay up to 1/2 of the cost of technology development. It will show up on the city report as RnD expense against the citizen's account.

Building Quality
Buildings now have a Quality value instead of TL. When a building manufactures something, the quality of the resulting object is determined by the average of the qualities of its components (this did not change). That component Q is added to the building Q and divided by 2, rounding up in an integer truncated calculation like this:

productQ = (componentAvgQ + buildingQ + 1) / 2

The building Q can raise the product quality higher than the average quality of the components. Likewise, the building Q can lower the product quality.

If the process in use requires a patent, the product Q is limited to not exceed the highest Q of the patent, as currently known by the city.

Manufacturing Processes
Minimum tech level of manufacturing processes was replaced by a minimum quality setting.

Many manufacturing processes now require a patent to execute. Some do not. This is a point for discussion as it determines what knowledge is already know to every new empire. I set it up so processes up to smelting metal were already known.

Spacecraft Designs
Spacecraft design performance is affected by this change, mostly because existing ships will load with their Q equal to their former TL. That means the best ships out there are Q31 Flawed (because TL was stored as 0 to 31). At Q31, the quality effect multiplier is less than 1x. Therefore, every ship is going to get slower, by up to .5x. Should I set all existing ships to Q75 when this change is posted? That would give them a quality modifier of 1x. Just consider that it could take a while before anyone can build ships of that quality.

Spacecraft designs now offer a minimum Q setting in the designer, instead of a minimum TL setting.

Hull size is limited by hull Q. This is currently the only factor limiting the size of ships. On new style ship designs, the maximum hull volume in cubic meters is:

maxVolume = hullQ x hullQ x 1600

That produces a lower maximum hull volume than was previously permitted, 104,040,000 now vs 121,791,292 previously.

Old style ship designs were changed to reach their current maximum mass at Q255. Their calculation is linear:

maxMass = hullQ x 43,750kg

Previously, the number of non-officer berths was limited by TL. Do you think this should be limited this using the Q of the life support system?

Systems of spacecraft now store their Q instead of their TL. This provides opportunities for minor failures due to quality. Expect that to start happening.

Energy Weapon Lens Bug
While working on this I discovered that the tech level, now quality, was not enhancing energy weapon lenses. That is fixed.
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Re: 2017-09-25 Tech Level Nerf

Postby Ikkir Isth » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:01 pm

Haxus wrote:Tech level was removed from all existing commodities. +details and other stuff


Image

I... I think I have to resub early and check all this out.
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Re: 2017-09-25 Tech Level Nerf

Postby expert700 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:03 pm

We love you Haxus. That is all.
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Re: 2017-09-25 Tech Level Nerf

Postby Rockdude48 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:14 pm

Just saw the steam group notification. This is a pretty major change, I'll probably re-sub to come check it out if I find some free time.
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Re: 2017-09-25 Tech Level Nerf

Postby Ikkir Isth » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:14 pm

On nerfing existing objects, I would say clean slate the universe: delete everything tech related, put all existing ships at poor ql, put all existing buildings at lowest they can go.

Of course it doesn't matter much to me though, I would just restart anyway.
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Re: 2017-09-25 Tech Level Nerf

Postby expert700 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:17 pm

Ikkir Isth wrote:On nerfing existing objects, I would say clean slate the universe: delete everything tech related, put all existing ships at poor ql, put all existing buildings at lowest they can go.

Of course it doesn't matter much to me though, I would just restart anyway.

I'm all for as much of a wipe as possible. I mean, I was one of the people wanting a full wipe but a tech wipe would be kinda nice as well.
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Re: 2017-09-25 Tech Level Nerf

Postby Deantwo » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:51 pm

expert700 wrote:
Ikkir Isth wrote:On nerfing existing objects, I would say clean slate the universe: delete everything tech related, put all existing ships at poor ql, put all existing buildings at lowest they can go.

Of course it doesn't matter much to me though, I would just restart anyway.

I'm all for as much of a wipe as possible. I mean, I was one of the people wanting a full wipe but a tech wipe would be kinda nice as well.

Yeah, let us all start rather low if not at 1.
I guess high TL cities could start at least a little higher, just so old long lasting cities are a little valuable. But maybe I am just sating that because Rævehale is freaking old. XD

Anyway, I need sleep.
Last edited by Deantwo on Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2017-09-25 Tech Level Nerf

Postby Deantwo » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:11 pm

When is this update gonna go live?

Haxus wrote:Patents

Sounds very interesting, especially the part about being unable to export the best possible version. Cities sound like they will be worth something now.

But what will actually have patents? All spacecraft systems?

Haxus wrote:Technology Commodities

This will work just like old Tech Disks I am guessing? We can trade them around between cities and such, then they are consumed by a building.
I am guessing there is still one for each building type? Or will it be one item that can level up any building? Maybe just building category-based (harvesting, production, commercial, etc.)? Maybe topic related categories make more sense (metal working, petrochemicals refining, computers, sensor tech, weapon tech, etc.)?

Haxus wrote:Manufacturing Processes
Minimum tech level of manufacturing processes was replaced by a minimum quality setting.

Many manufacturing processes now require a patent to execute. Some do not. This is a point for discussion as it determines what knowledge is already know to every new empire. I set it up so processes up to smelting metal were already known.

So a new player won't be able to collect oil and such right away? While it sounds awesome in one way, this is the change that worry me.
A new player shouldn't end up with nothing to do right away. Maybe they can at least harvest the oil but just not refine it?
Will have to see how this works out for myself I guess.

Might also look into making a city building tutorial too, if it is suddenly gonna become more complicated with research being required and such.
I made a in-depth analysis of the new player experience a couple of years ago, might be useful.
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Re: 2017-09-25 Tech Level Nerf

Postby Mr. Mortius » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:35 pm

Could I request that existing shipments that only used tl for the criteria to select materials to ship be changed so that if they had tl32 selected as the minimum, they'll now have Q248 as the minimum? It would make the transition much easier for existing multi-system empires.
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Re: 2017-09-25 Tech Level Nerf

Postby Staines » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:23 pm

STRONG SUGGESTION: There are a LOT of different possible patents; can you give us the ability to also request a "Compendium", that is an item that copies all known patents to one item, for easy transfer of knowledge?


Also, while this isn't the way I would have done it personally... I'm glad that something is being done about the tech/resources system. Haxus; could you seriously think about a possible total economy rewrite? Currently, money is essentially worthless, and resources are harvested in such uncontrolled quantities as to be essentially infinite.

We need to have quantities that we can really understand work with, and there needs to be measurable, trackable income and expenditure of financial and resource GDPs. Right now, money just piles up endlessly. It needs to go somewhere. Don't worry about a real life economy, just make something that works in a gamified sense (money created/destroyed by citizen processes and empire upkeep).

Another suggestion; consumer goods. A planetary population should have a "quality of life" rating from 1-255, that can be improved by meeting the daily requirements of consumer goods (which they buy, providing some sales tax). If you fill the needs for long enough, the quality rating of the planet should increase similar to patents. Quality 2 needs to be fulfilled by Q2 consumer goods etc. Quality of Life can drop up and down again.

Having higher quality of life should make planets more productive - perhaps it could even be used as a "development level" status of a colony, so that a QoL254 planet could have 8x (Excellent Q modifier) population limit.

In this way, planets can also take a year to develop, just like Tech.
All of this has happened before, and will happen again.
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