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2019-12-03 Abandonment and Decay

Abandonment and Decay
Some kind of decay is needed for the new style buildings. The data load keeps getting bigger and heavier, with no relief. Also, it is possible for one person to maintain a ridiculously large empire, something that was expicitly not supposed to happen. If possible, the mechanism for decay should not penalize players who cannot log in for a while. Something must be done; the smaller servers are getting overwhelmed.

There is a finite amount of server resource available. It must be managed and shared by all players.

One way to keep the servers running smoothly is to eliminate data that nobody is using. A big contributor is buildings that get constructed then forgotten or abandoned. Those buildings chug away, doing their work forever, even if their emperor never comes back.

Several strategies have been tried over the years to do this in a way that is fair and works with the way people play the game. We are about to experience the carnage of yet another attempt. If anyone is going to rage quit, now is as good of time as any.

This is how buildings will decay, once this code is fully enabled. The update today does not destroy any buildings due to abandonment. Abandonment will be reported in city reports as a negative to morale, to give people time to make adjustments.

Buildings that are not incorporated into a city are subject to abandonment and decay, the same as buildings in cities or bases. There are no reports to show the abandonment status of unincorporated buildings.

A building can become abandoned.
  • Building abandonment begins three days after an avatar on line was last present in its solar system.
  • Exception, every building is immune to abandonment, in the supersector (3x3x3 sectors) centered on the home building of any avatar on an active account. Empire of the active avatar is not a factor. This is only signaled once per day so don't bother running around declaring new homes everywhere.
  • An avatar whose account status changes, becoming active or inactive, may take up to 24 hours to register the change of account status.
  • There is no extra benefit to overlapping the home supersectors of multiple avatars.
  • Abandonment appears as a negative morale modifier on the city report.
Once a building is abandoned, it is subject to decay. Decay is disabled in this update.
  • Up to three abandoned buildings in a city will decay at each city report cycle. Decayed buildings are listed on the city report.
  • Unincorporated buildings on a world will decay. This goes unreported.
  • When a building decays due to abandonment, it is completely destroyed.
  • Probability of an abandoned building decaying increases as the negative morale modifier increases.
  • Decay conforms to city build rules so bases will decay before cities, on any given world.
  • A city report with decaying buildings is marked with a highlighted icon.
  • The final city report from a decaying city does not expire in the mail queue. It is marked with a highlighted icon.
Before deciding that the space allotted to each avatar is too small, consider that the six avatars on an account can keep up to 162 sectors from decaying. That is easily more than 5k solar systems.

Buildings get a morale penalty after no avatar on line has visited their system in a while. Shouldn't they be happy when an avatar comes to visit?

Cities get a morale boost when their system is visited by an avatar on line. For one day after the visit, a '+1 Cosmopolitan' morale boost will appear on the report.

In the past, the avatar's home solar system was protected from decay. That was not enough.

I considered protecting only their home sector. That still felt a bit small. If the supersector turns out to be too much; the fallback is the sector.

I favor the supersector. It is the stars you see in the sky from your home. It is the stars you see on your nav panel. It is easy to "see", instead of using a literal radius.

its interesting that you never really consider monetizing something like this - i feel that any other mmo would make you have to purchase like some kind if scifi totem with real money that would keep buildings from decaying, so long as you paid for the totem every month

unrelated, is there a reason you destroy the buildings rather than just unloading them permanently unless the avatar logs back in or another avatar comes by?

Can I propose a useful amendment?

The density of an empire doesn't affect server load (presumably), but only the number of systems. Could each active avatar, instead of a localized 3x3x3 supersector, be allowed to designate 27 (say) sectors which he will immunize from decay? 

The way high-quality resources are distributed in Hazeron might mean that an empire needs only seven total systems to build the things it wants to, but, having only 6 avatars, it can't because those 7 systems cannot be contained within 6 3x3x3 blocks. I could achieve all my current game goals with a small number of systems, but, looking at my star map, I could not do so using the supersector system without purchasing additional accounts.

Your proposed system could also penalize people with the perfectly legitimate and not very load-intensive desire to keep a diffuse empire, say, with again only seven or eight systems but spread in different galaxies or between inhabited and less inhabited regions. 

Meanwhile a load-hogging empire with a max-size city on every possible planet in a 27 sector block could still be tanking the servers out of spite. Not looking at anyone in particular...
[Image: 7JQk4bf.jpg]

i agree with vectorus - the system proposed makes it a lot harder to have a spread-out small empire. 

i would also say that basing it on avatar home buildings is a bad idea, because then all you have to do is figure out someones home building, destroy it, and then all of their systems will be abandoned. because the new system discourages you from setting your home more often, you probably wont use it much - and then you wont notice when its been destroyed. a better solution might actually be a craftable item you can set down in a system to load it, which you are limited to 27 of (or whatever,) and if it were broken or stolen it would send you some mail.

Good extra point, minty - it would be quite easy to locate the centre-system of an apparent 3x3x3 sprawl and take out the nerve-centre of someone's empire while they're on a long weekend...just assigning sectors or systems to an avatar via the Empire screen would feel a lot more slick and manageable, as well as having gameplay advantages.

The current radius system would also encourage parasitic the boardgame Go or noughts and crosses, claiming the surrounding sectors of someone else's home base, potentially strangling those weaker than yourself and feeding off their subscription money.

I was trying to avoid a pay-to-win system, which would be enabled by letting people just buy a bigger empire.

Designation of specific systems does have some advantages. I was concerned about how well the supersector would work, for many of the reasons stated above.

The supersectors really are too large. It's too much space for $10 per month.

It sounds like each avatar should designate N solar systems that are immune to abandonment decay.

Now we just have to solve for N.

I think the Vulcans had one.

One for every natural resource? That would be...48.

Plus 2 just for fun? 50?

That's much better than 5000.

50 is a good number to start with; it can be adjusted if necessary. I'll start doing the work. This problem needs to be fixed ASAP. It is becoming critical. Other than bad morale, this update shouldn't cause any serious trouble. It can run for a day while I make these changes.

When you fly airplanes, there is no stop; there is no back; there is only forward, fast.

making the 'load designation' an item would allow it to be affected by progression, as well as potentially be a part of war. for example, maybe this 'load totem' or whatever would only load the solar system if made of iron, load a few systems with the tier up, load half a sector with whatever, and then finally adamantite would let you load the whole sector.

and i agree that less loaded systems per avatar is better, to discourage more one-man empires taking over the universe. 50 is still a hell of a lot for one person, so that sounds like a great number imo.

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