Predestination

Predestination

Too many limits on some buildings
Why am I limited to one Scout Transciever per city? One tax office per city? One {fill in the blank} per city? These sorts of constraints always feel artificial to me, and break immersion.

I get that game balance requires limits on some things, but I feel that it is always better if those limits arise naturally from the in-game economics.

Instead of limiting me to one Scout Transciever per city, how about increasing the operating cost of SC's? What if they consumed some large amount of energy per turn? What if they required 2/4/6 city hexes? Having a higher operating cost would keep the game balanced while also giving me more power of choice and opening up the game to a wider range of play styles.

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Showing 1-7 of 7 comments
A.I.M.M.O. Nov 14, 2016 @ 12:54pm 
Some things can be explained in fact , Why should you hav multiple tax Office in one city ? If you were realistsic then adding another one would not really increas the tax income , Scout Transciever has an ingame exploration , and a Heatsink (Starforget) Is probally never hitting it max capacity so anotehr one would be useless , one thing botheres me the Anti-Virus-Tower (you can probaly see that i´m a starforged player ( : ) Most off these restricted buildings make sense if you just accept that one of them is "powerfull enough" to handle a complete city , so another one is not needed .
Nyphur  [developer] Nov 14, 2016 @ 1:58pm 
Hey guys,

Great topic for discussion! So the original plan for cities was that there would be no limit to the number of each building you could place and we would use other mechanisms like space and economics to restrict usage. Powerful buildings would be Large sized so that you would be limited to 3-4 of them per city and you'd need to sacrifice a slot that would otherwise be filled by another large building. That plan has changed as we've developed the game and tested various setups, so now we basically have a few different restriction mechanisms:

1) Infrastructure - During development we've moved some of the buildings from inside the city to external Infrastructure. You can only connect 6 infrastructure to each city so you have to carefully weigh up the alternatives depending on the resources available. Each slot could be more metal per turn, energy, food, etc.

2) Orbital Infrastructure - Each satellite building (Orbital telescope, weather controller, and temporal satellite) is limited to 1 per planet, but this is just to prevent players from accidentally building more than one as multiples wouldn't stack. Each planet is also limited to 1 starbase, which is a design decision. We wanted to encourage players to settle star systems with lots of planets and build a starbase on each to combine their build rates rather than just filling one planet with loads of shipyards and sending metal there with a trade route.

3) Large Buildings - Each city can fit 3-4 large buildings, the most important examples being food processors, factories, city shields, and research labs. Large building slots are a limited resource, and every slot could be used for a research lab so you have to weigh up the options. It makes sense to build food processors in a farming city or factories in a production city, and it's up to you whether you want to sacrifice a slot for a city shield. These aren't as powerful as infrastructures, but are a way to specialise your cities and set your priorities.

4) One Per City Small Buildings - Most small buildings' effects stack and we let you build as many as you like, but some of them can unbalance the game if you stack too many so we've limited them to one per city.

Ideally, we'd like to change this so that all small buildings are unlimited, and that might mean changing the bonuses given to some, adding penalties, or moving some small buildings out of the city and making them infrastructure. I'll put together a post with a list of the current one-per-city buildings and my thoughts on them in a moment, and I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Cheers,
-- Brendan, Lead Developer
Nyphur  [developer] Nov 14, 2016 @ 4:37pm 
My current thoughts on all of the "one per city" buildings are below. I'd love to get your feedback on these, as the community really helps shape the game:

Auxiliary Hatchery - Produces +10 population per turn but consumes 100 food/turn and 25 energy/turn. This I think we can just allow people to build multiple of, and actually the energy consumption might be a bit too much. People could build hatchery cities to boost a planet's population very quickly, and then switch to another city type when the population is large enough. We could alternatively make this an infrastructure and boost its stats a bit (say +25 population/turn for 500 food/turn).

Auxiliary Forge - Produces +5 population per turn and has 500 population storage space, but consumes 10 metal/turn. This is in a bit of a weird place as robotic players build their population manually so the +5/turn isn't that useful, which is why we gave it 500 storage too. We could do the same as for the Hatchery here, making it an alternative way to force-grow a colony by making it +10 population/turn for -10 metal/turn. It'd be up to players to learn to use this to grow a colony and then switch to a different city type.

Heat Sink - Gives +10% metal production and research in the city and can only be built in Ice environments. This is supposed to be a small bonus for building your cities on the ice, encouraging robotic players to stick to their home environment. We could move this to an infrastructure, which would limit it to 6 per city, and then change the bonus to +20% research only. This would basically allow you to get up to a +120% research bonus even if there are no ancient ruins, but it'd cost you all of your infrastructure slots. This might be good, as we've noticed the Starforged lag behind a bit in tech.

Tax Office - Gives +25% GDP in the city but a moral penalty. In the next update, morale, health, and security are changing from a flat value to a kind of resource that increases or decreases each turn. The Entertainment Center gives +1 morale/turn in the new system, so we could make the Tax Office +10% GDP and -2 morale/turn so that you'll need 2 entertainment centers to counteract it. That basically makes it a 3-hex structure that gives +10% tax from one city, which isn't that overpowered. Base GDP is based on population, so the Tax Office bonus can be compared to housing and apartment complexes. Removing the one-per-city limit also means you can do interesting things on planets where you find an Ancient Holographic Chamber.

Antivirus Tower - This is actually changing in the next update, it's going to give +2 security per turn and will no longer be limited to one per city.

Industrial/Energy/Agricultural Market - Sells excess production of metal/energy/food on the open market for money. This is a large building and only one allowed per planet, as you don't get any benefit from having more than one. This I am thinking of moving outside the city and making it a piece of infrastructure.

Scout Transceiver - Adds an additional planet scout, which is useful in the pre-warp stage or when colonising an unscanned planet. This is a buildings that you only need for a short period of time and then you can destroy it, which is more the use case of infrastructure than a building. I'm thinking of making this a piece of infrastructure, which would allow you to build several of them in the early game to speed up exploration and then destroy them as you find the resources to build more useful infrastructure.

City Shield - Blocks 10/20/50 damage from each attack and absorbs the rest to the city's energy reserves at a rate of 5/4/3 energy per point of damage. These are limited to one per city because we can't really let you stack any of those stats. Four Tier 3 shields would block 200 damage from each shot, making your city immune to all weapons except Anti-Matter Bombs (400 damage, Galactic Domination era tech) and Quantum Inversion Bombs (800 damage, Revenant tech). You do sacrifice a lot to do that, though, so is that really a problem?

Recycling Plant - Produces 1 metal per 1000 population in the city. This doesn't make sense to have more than one of, and we don't want it to be an infrastructure or a large building. It's supposed to be a small bonus in all cities for picking that tech compared to the Advanced Colony Module. If we let this stat stack then you could have a residential city with 10,000 population and 20 recycling centers to produce 200 metal/turn. If we make this a large building, my calculations show the optimum number would be around 2 recycling plants and 11,000 pop, which would produce 22 metal/turn. That's not very good, so we'd increase the bonus to maybe 2 metal per 1000 population to get 44 metal/turn to make it good enough to be worth using a large building slot but only in a residential city, and not better than a factory when there's a few ore refineries attached.

Support Centre - Produces 0.5 BC per 1000 population in the city. Robots don't have tax so they don't really need residential cities, but they do get the Distributed Computing tech that gives +1 RP per 1000 population empire-wide so you might want to build residential cities for that purpose. We could do the same as above and make the Support Center a large building and double the bonus, then you could get 11-12 RP and 22-24 BC out of each residential city. That doesn't sound too overpowered considering one tier 3 labs gives 12 RP without bonuses and 24 BC is 3 Bytecoin Miners worth, though it does mean the Support Center won't get much use.

Astro University / Network Hub - Provides +1 RP per 1000 population in the city. If we make this a large building but don't change the bonus, that makes a residential city able to churn out about 22 RP per turn before bonuses, which is just a little less than two tier 3 research labs. This would make residential cities into little research cities that also generate tax, but not as good for research as a full research city since you can build 3-4 labs for 36-48 RP/turn but if you build 3-4 universities you have lower population and the bonus drops. I'd be happy with that.

.

Would love your thoughts on these suggested changes!

Cheers,
-- Brendan, Lead Developer
A.I.M.M.O. Nov 15, 2016 @ 7:27am 
Like The most Ideas .

I think the Heat Sink should still be a small one hex Building , it make´s Ice Planets more Atractive , even if they Are Mineral Poor , you can get enough Metal Yield out of it to keep a colony expanding .
Last edited by A.I.M.M.O.; Nov 15, 2016 @ 11:29am
@Nyphur: Really appreciate your steadily thoghtful conversation on the forums.

Re Tax Office: Sounds good, but I don't have a good understanding of how the new morale/health/security system will work, so I can't offer much opinion here.

Re Markets: Makes sense that you'd have only one per planet, though I vote for keeping them inside of cities. Right now, most (all?) infrastructure units have some sort of connection to the landscape, with better/worse performance depending on where you place the infrastructure unit. This seems like a good way to differentiate infrastructure from buildings: infrastructure has terrain bonuses/penalties, while buildings do not. As markets currently have no terrain bonus, they seem like they ought to be in-city buildings. If you really want to move markets outside of cities, then I'd recommend giving a terrain bonus to the markets.

Re Scout Transciever: As you say, you only need these in certain short-term situations. But your create-then-destroy argument would apply just as well to a building in a city as to a piece of infrastructure. Just as you can build multiple infrastructure-type transcievers, then destroy them later, you could just as easily build multiple building-type transcievers, then destroy them later. So I don't think that changing the scount transciever from a building to an infrastructure would bring any real benefit. I vote for keeping transcievers inside cities, for the same reason that I voted for keeping markets inside cities - they have no terrain bonuses. If you really want to move transcievers outside of cities, then I'd recommend giving them some sort of terrain bonus.

Recycling Plant: That's an interesting cost/benefit problem here. Sure, big building with 2 metal / 1000 pop - sounds like a fine solution. Have you considered mid-sized buildings of 2/3/4 hexes in size? This would make city planning more of a Tetris-type deal, but it would also give you more flexibility with cost/benefit balance issues.
Originally posted by Nyphur:
Hey guys,

Great topic for discussion! So the original plan for cities was that there would be no limit to the number of each building you could place and we would use other mechanisms like space and economics to restrict usage. Powerful buildings would be Large sized so that you would be limited to 3-4 of them per city and you'd need to sacrifice a slot that would otherwise be filled by another large building. That plan has changed as we've developed the game and tested various setups, so now we basically have a few different restriction mechanisms:

1) Infrastructure - During development we've moved some of the buildings from inside the city to external Infrastructure. You can only connect 6 infrastructure to each city so you have to carefully weigh up the alternatives depending on the resources available. Each slot could be more metal per turn, energy, food, etc.

2) Orbital Infrastructure - Each satellite building (Orbital telescope, weather controller, and temporal satellite) is limited to 1 per planet, but this is just to prevent players from accidentally building more than one as multiples wouldn't stack. Each planet is also limited to 1 starbase, which is a design decision. We wanted to encourage players to settle star systems with lots of planets and build a starbase on each to combine their build rates rather than just filling one planet with loads of shipyards and sending metal there with a trade route.

3) Large Buildings - Each city can fit 3-4 large buildings, the most important examples being food processors, factories, city shields, and research labs. Large building slots are a limited resource, and every slot could be used for a research lab so you have to weigh up the options. It makes sense to build food processors in a farming city or factories in a production city, and it's up to you whether you want to sacrifice a slot for a city shield. These aren't as powerful as infrastructures, but are a way to specialise your cities and set your priorities.

4) One Per City Small Buildings - Most small buildings' effects stack and we let you build as many as you like, but some of them can unbalance the game if you stack too many so we've limited them to one per city.

Ideally, we'd like to change this so that all small buildings are unlimited, and that might mean changing the bonuses given to some, adding penalties, or moving some small buildings out of the city and making them infrastructure. I'll put together a post with a list of the current one-per-city buildings and my thoughts on them in a moment, and I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Cheers,
-- Brendan, Lead Developer

just bought this game after playing it on a freinds acount i love it so far two quick thoughts that came up as i read this thread would it be possible to limit you ot a number of starbases empire wide equal to your number of planets or somthing like that i feel like the example you give of what you were tryijng ot prevent there should be a player decision about how to structure their empire if i want one giant capitol world supported by a bunch of underdeveloped resource farms why stop that? second the 4 cities per planet limit feels odd maybe just have penalties acrrue for more than that rather than a hard limit?
Last edited by Nostalgiaforinfinity; Jun 22 @ 12:46pm
Nyphur  [developer] Jun 23 @ 9:16am 
Note to anyone reading this thread: Some of the game mechanics have changed since this thread was first posted. Entertainment Centre is now an infrastructure, the morale/health/security system is now a percentage coverage of the population from 0 to 100, and buildings are now split into three categories: Core Buildings (large tiered buildings like the Research Lab and Factory), Service Buildings (one per city), and Small Buildings (everything else).

Originally posted by Sunstar:
just bought this game after playing it on a freinds acount i love it so far two quick thoughts that came up as i read this thread would it be possible to limit you ot a number of starbases empire wide equal to your number of planets or somthing like that i feel like the example you give of what you were tryijng ot prevent there should be a player decision about how to structure their empire if i want one giant capitol world supported by a bunch of underdeveloped resource farms why stop that? second the 4 cities per planet limit feels odd maybe just have penalties acrrue for more than that rather than a hard limit?

Some very interesting ideas! I'd love to explore these more thoroughly from a game design and balance standpoint, and see if there are any problems they could cause:

Starbase Limits:
Your idea is to change the starbase limit from a separate limit of 1 on each planet to a galaxy-wide limit of 1 per planet in your empire, so you could have for example 10 starbases on one planet at the expense of leaving 9 planets defenceless. This would have some side-effects that we'd have to consider:

Fleet Combat: In Fleet Combat at a planet with 10 starbases, would all 10 appear? This could be difficult to balance as each Starbases can be almost as powerful in combat as a battleship thanks to the Structural Mount module they get that gives them bonus weapon range and ammo.

Non-Combat Modules: The non-combat starbase modules (such as the Hydroponic Bay and Solar Collector Array) give some big resource bonuses and are balanced based on the idea that you're giving up power grid that could be used on defensive power. If you can build multiple starbases on one planet, you could build a second military starbase and bypass this balance. It may also allow you to multiply those massive module bonuses by one Planet Leader, for example having a science leader on a planet covered in pure research starbases, which makes getting good leaders a bit too essential. Not sure I'd be happy with that as it's pretty random which leaders you get.

1-City Planet Spam: Some planets currently may not be really worth colonising, but if every trash planet gives you +1 starbase to build somewhere else then suddenly it's worth adding 1 city to each even if there's nothing good there. I'd prefer the value in a planet to be in the resources that are there and the infrastructure/cities they can support. Players already get +1 command point per City and warlords get +1 more command points per planet, which lets them have a larger mobile fleet. This would also make the United Colonies more powerful as they can research all three of the hostile biosphere techs and colonise Barren, Molten, and Toxic planets.

Build Speed: I do like the idea of having a capitol or shipyard system fed by trade routes from farming colonies, but having 10+ starbases on one planet would mean that their collective shipyard build speed would be absolutely massive. You can already build a shipyard system currently that achieves an insanely high build rate, but you have to be lucky enough to find a system with 5 or 6 planets in it and then to maximise build speed you have to trade off defensive power by using a design with Shipyard Extension Bays. I really like the exploration dynamic that this creates, and it feels like being able to build this on one planet wherever you like would be cheaper.

Other thoughts: Some other questions are raised here, such as how to handle losing a planet when you're at your starbase limit. Do we destroy a random starbase, or just stop you from building more? Then there's the problem that when you see an enemy fleet incoming, you could just build loads of military starbases on the planet instantly before they arrive if you had enough metal stored. Right now, the best you can do is replace a non-military starbase with a military one in preparation for the attack, and if you have enough warning then you could switch a city to a military blueprint to give you some ground cannons etc to work with (the buildings take a while to complete). I feel like that balance is in a good place right now.


City Limits:
Your second idea is to replace the city limit with penalties that accrue as you build more cities rather than a hard limit per planet. We explored a number of similar ones before we came to Early Access, and actually re-designed the entire planetary colonisation gameplay from the ground up several times until we hit on the current system. Previous versions were reported to be too complicated/confusing or not engaging/strategic enough, and the current one was the one that we found works best while keeping the gameplay strategic.

How the current system works: To summarise for anyone reading who hasn't got the game yet, planets in Predestination come in a range of sizes that each support a different number of cities: Tiny (1 city), Small (2 cities), Medium (3 cities), Large (4 cities), and Huge (5 cities). There's also an additional city on each planet unlocked by the Advanced City Planning technology. Each city has living space for 2,000 population and building space for up to 3-4 large buildings and a number of small buildings. Each city also has a limit of 6 pieces of planetary infrastructure that can be connected to it, so larger planets can support more buildings and industrial infrastructure.

What would happen without City/Infrastructure limits?: One of the old designs for planetary colonisation had no city or infrastructure limits at all, instead each planet had limited resource deposits and all infrastructure required those deposits. For example, farms had to be built on fertile soil and ore refineries had to be built on ore deposits. When we implemented this, we got very strong feedback that it wasn't strategic enough and there were very few real decisions for players to make.

Every new planet became a repetitive exercise in building infrastructure to capture all of the resources and then building as many cities as the food supply could support. The solution was to significantly increase the amount of resource deposits on planets but limit the number of pieces of infrastructure you could build on a planet, so now people have to make strategic decisions about what to build. We needed a smaller limit on smaller planets as they have fewer resource deposits and less space, so the natural solution was to make the limit 6 per city and then limit the number of cities based on planet size.

Accrued penalties: Using accrued penalties instead of hard limits is definitely possible, but they would have to be extremely punishing penalties as an extra city essentially means 3-4 additional large buildings, 8-15 small buildings, and 6 pieces of infrastructure. Just going one city over the limit could equate to 4 more research labs or a military city full of ground cannons, and the extra infrastructure could provide 672 extra energy/turn or 10,000 food/turn.

I'd be curious as to what penalties players might find acceptable, and how this would change the game dynamics. Could the first additional city cost 20 BC/turn, the second 40 BC/turn, and so on? Would players build extra cities on certain planets to take advantage of especially dense resources, and farm up the money elsewhere to support them? How would we make the player aware of the penalty, and would it be intuitive enough for players to understand?

Cheers,
-- Brendan, Lead Developer
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