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Starbase Orion by the numbers
08-22-2012, 03:46 PM (This post was last modified: 08-24-2012 04:02 AM by seebs.)
Post: #1
Starbase Orion by the numbers
Starbase Orion by the numbers

Often, knowing the numbers a game uses can help you make more informed decisions. Is it worth settling this world? What's better, a large mineral abundant barren world, a small mineral very rich radiated world, or a medium mineral poor arid world?

To do this, you have to know a few things. You need to know the population and structure capacities of worlds, what you can expand them to, what people will produce, and so on. It also matters the time scale you're thinking on; a world that's worthless in a shorter game might be very rewarding in a longer game.

Population

There are five population classes, which I call barren, swamp, arid, terran, and gaia. Desert, tundra, ocean, radiated, and toxic worlds all have the same populations as barren. Build slots are determined entirely by size.

Code:
Size/Type  Barren Swamp  Arid   Terran Gaia   Slots
Tiny       1      2      3      4      5      3
Small      3      4      6      8      10     6
Medium     4      6      9      12     15     9
Large      5      8      12     16     20     12
Huge       6      10     15     20     25     15

You can add 2, 4, or 8 population (or slots) at a cost of 2, 4, or 6 GC/turn with the Advanced City Planning (or Improved Colony Infrastructure) trees. So when maxed out, those numbers will be:

Code:
Size/Type  Barren Arid   Terran Gaia
Tiny       9      11     12     13
Small      11     14     16     18
Medium     12     17     20     23
Large      13     20     24     28
Huge       14     23     28     33

(The "Arid" population limit is also the largest number of slots you can have.)

Farming, Industry, and Research

The basic formula for all of these is the same. You have a base productivity-per-worker rate, and buildings or technologies can give additional bonuses per person. These numbers are modified by morale and racial bonuses (and gravity), and then flat production from buildings is added.

So, first the tables:

Code:
Farming             Industry
Desert     1        Very Poor  1
Tundra     1        Poor       2
Arid       1        Abundant   3
Swamp      2        Rich       5
Ocean      2        Very Rich  7
Terran     3
Gaia       5

Research is unaffected by planet class. Classes not listed can't be farmed without special racial traits, and if they can they produce one food per farmer per turn base.

So, how this works. Say I have a planet which is mineral abundant, with five workers. Base production would be 15. If we have Efficient Factories I, and 20% morale, we get:

15 base + 5 building bonus = 20
20 + 20% (morale) = 24
24 + 5 (building base value) = 29 total

A sixth worker would add four more productivity, plus the 20% morale bonus, or 4.8 more -- which seems to round up, so that'd be 34.

If a planet has both morale bonuses and gravity penalties, they are shown separately, and both are percentages of the base value; flat values from buildings are unaffected.

What this means: On poor planets, robotics facilities are much more important. On rich planets, less so. If you have a very poor planet, and both efficient factories II and planetary core mining, you're getting 4 production per worker (modified by morale and gravity); you also get 40 production not modified by anything. A robotics facility II will give you a flat 20 production, equivalent to five workers on this planet, or ten if it's high gravity. On a very rich planet, with the same modifiers, each worker gives 10 production, modified by morale and gravity. Here, robotics facility II is only equivalent to two workers, or four in high gravity.

Farming is affected by advanced farming techniques and orbital weather controllers, and also by binary stars (which give a 20% bonus, again only on the worker-derived production). So each farmer on a desert, with orbital weather controllers II and advanced farming, is producing 6 food. On a gaia world, it'd be ten per farmer. Morale and binary star bonuses are both applied to this separately; 30% morale and a binary star get you 15 base food per worker on a fully-upgraded gaia world.

Research follows the same protocol; three per scientist, plus building modifiers, then modified by morale and gravity. You can upgrade to research center III (+3 per scientist), but 6/scientist is as high as you get without leaders. So orbital lab II (30 research per turn) is as good as five scientists!

Costs and values

So, now what? Now we bring it all together. Let's say you're playing a default empire. You have a small rich barren world, a medium abundant tundra or desert world, a large abundant terran world, and a binary star. So:

Your main world has a capacity of 20 people, and 15 build slots. It will produce three food per farmer, plus 20% bonus for the binary star. It will produce 3 industry per worker. Your medium world has a capacity of 4, who can produce 1 food each or 3 industry, and your small world has a capacity of 3, who can produce no food or 5 industry.

Should you build a hydroponics center on your tundra/desert world? Doing so will provide you with 2 food locally on that world. The cost is 1 per turn. If the food is surplus, 2 food will sell for one GC, so it seems worth it. But it gets better; transporting 2 food would also cost you 1 GC per turn, so if that world has two population on it, you're getting 2 GC worth of value per turn, at a cost of 1. So it's profitable, but it does chew up a slot. On the other hand, you don't have much use for slots at first. If you build the hydroponics center, and sell it for scrap immediately, you get results no worse than economic funding; if you keep it for a while, it's pretty rewarding.

Now, say you don't have improved colony infrastructure available, and you have one slot open on a world. Should you build Efficient Factories II, or Robotics Facility II? Efficient Factories II costs 1 GC per turn, and gives you 10 production, plus 1 per worker. Robotics Facility II costs 2 GC per turn, and gives you 20 production flat. If you're going to have at least ten workers, the factories are better. If you're not, it's not as clear -- although the factories are a lot cheaper to make, too. In the early game, the factories are probably a better purchase, or if you have to start from scratch on a world and can't afford to buy production for it.

Say you can afford to buy some production. Now what? Efficient Factories I costs 90 production, thus 180 GC. Efficient Factories II costs 140 production, thus 280 GC. Buying both of them will set you back 420 GC. Robotics Facility I is 150 GC, Robotics Facility II is 200 GC. Buying both will cost you 600 GC.

However, there's an additional complexity: As you buy things, the amount of production you're getting changes, and when you buy things all production becomes extra industry on the next turn.

Say I buy EF 1, EF 2, RF 1, and RF 2 in that order on a planet with one colonist, who's working. Say it's an abundant world.

Turn 1: I buy EF 1 for 180 GC. My worker produces 3 more industry, and EF1 is completed.
Turn 2: I buy EF 2 for 274 GC, using up three production. Worker and factory produce 8 industry, and EF2 is completed. Note that the production is computed before EF2 is completed.
Turn 3: I buy RF 1 for 284 GC, using up 8 production. My worker and factory produce 15, and RF1 is completed.
Turn 4: I buy RF 2 for 370 GC, using up 15 production. The worker, factory, and RF1 produce 25 production.

I've spent 1,108 GC and ended with 25 production.

Now say I buy them in a different order:

Turn 1: I buy RF 1 for 300 GC.
Turn 2: I buy RF 2 for 400 GC. RF 1 produces 10 production.
Turn 3: I buy EF 1 for 160 GC. RF 2 produces 20 production.
Turn 4: I buy EF 2 for 240 GC. RF 2 and EF 1 produce 28.

I've spent 1,100 GC and ended with 28 production.

So: When buying things, if you plan to buy a few things, try to do the ones that will produce the most first.

Long-term colony value planning

So, let's say I start with a tiny, very mineral poor, low-gravity, radiated world. What's that going to be able to be in the long run? Well. Maxed out, it'll be a tiny, very mineral poor, Gaia. Population 13, 11 build slots.

Build slots: (costs)
1. Gravity generator. (3)
2. Efficient Factories II. (1)
3. Robotics Facility II. (2)
4, 5. Planetary Core Mining. (4)
6. Research Center III. (2)
7. Marine Barracks II. (2)
8. Trade Port II. (0)
9. Advanced City Planning III (6)
10. Space Elevator II. (6)
11. Sanctioned Sports. (2)
Not in slots:
Warp Gate II (3)
Starbase III (6)
Orbital Weather Controller II (8)
Orbital Laboratory III (4)
Improved Colony Infrastructure III (6)

Total cost: 55 GC per turn.

Income:
13 taxes
9 trade port bonus
4 efficient tax collectors
Total income: 26 GC per turn.

So I'm losing 29 GC per turn. What am I getting for it?

Farming world: 13 farmers. I'm producing 130 food per turn, plus any morale bonuses (and I should have a 20% morale bonus from the sports). Using 13 food per turn, so that's a surplus of 143 food. 143 food sells for roughly 71 GC per turn. Net profit: 42 GC. The planet is also producing 60 research points and 60 industry per turn. If I convert the industry to economic funding, that's 83 GC per turn.

Industrial world:
Case 1: 0 farmers. (WHY WHY WHY do I have the weather controller, then?) I have 13 workers. Each worker produces 4 base industry, so that's 52 industry, plus the morale bonus, so 62 base plus 60 from buildings, so 122 total industry. Importing 13 food basically costs 13GC (each unit of food imported reduces food exports by 1/2 GC and costs 1/2 GC of distribution, so 1GC of cost). So 42 GC of costs, for which I get 122 industry, which I could use for 61 GC of funding, leaving me with a profit of 19 GC. That's stupid. Or I could use the space elevator, and scrap ships, getting me 62.5GC per 100 production instead of 50, and that gets my profit up to 34 GC.

Case 2: 1 farmer, 12 workers. Farmer produces 12 food including morale. 48 industry, plus morale bonus, is about 57 industry. So 117 industry. 1 GC for imports, so 30 GC total cost, 117 industry production. If I convert that to 58GC, I have a profit of 28 GC, or 43 if I use the space elevator trick.

Case 3: 2 farmers, 11 workers. 24 food, which is a surplus of 11, so about 5GC from food. 44 industry, plus morale bonus, is about 53 industry from workers, total 113. Net costs 29, food profit 5, 113 industry which I can convert to 56 GC. Total profit 32, or 46 or so with the space elevator.

So basically: The more I farm instead of doing industry, the more money I get. The industrial world thing is a bad idea unless I really need the production for something.

Research world:
Let's use one farmer. I have 19 GC costs (12/13 food supplied locally), so I have 12 researchers producing 6 research per turn, so 72 base, 86 including morale, increasing RP from 60 to 146. But losing 30 GC per turn.

So, what's this tell me? Well, mostly, it tells me that even if I make HORRIBLE planet management decisions, I can make some decent profit off this planet.

Now let's say I rethink this a bit with that in mind.

Build slots: (costs)
1. Gravity generator. (3)
2. Efficient Factories II. (1)
3. Robotics Facility II. (2)
4, 5. Planetary Core Mining. (4)
6. Research Center III. (2)
7. Marine Barracks II. (2)
8. Trade Port II. (0)
9. Advanced City Planning III (6)
11. Sanctioned Sports. (2)
Not in slots:
Warp Gate II (3)
Starbase III (6)
Orbital Laboratory III (4)
Improved Colony Infrastructure III (6)

Total cost: 41 GC per turn.

Income:
13 taxes
9 trade port bonus
4 efficient tax collectors
Total income: 26 GC per turn.

So costs 15 GC/turn.

Actually, I could keep the weather controller, or build the intermediate one. Or I could scrap the hydroponics center, or build a smaller one. Hmm!

With one farmer:
  • No OWC, no hydroponics: Total food production +7 (including morale), so 6 GC/turn in food costs. Real cost 21/turn.
  • Hydroponics II: Total food production +11, so 2 GC/turn in food costs, and 2 GC/turn in additional support costs. Real cost 19/turn.
  • OWC I, no hydroponics: Food production +9, 4 GC/turn in food costs, 4 GC in maintenance. Real cost 23/turn.
  • OWC II, no hydroponics: Food production +12, 1 GC/turn in food costs, 8 GC/turn in maintenance. Real cost 24/turn.
  • OWC II, hydroponics I: Food production +14, 9 GC/turn in maintenance. 24/turn real cost.

How about two? No point in hydroponics here; planet is at break-even on food so hydroponics won't help, it'll just use a slot.
  • No OWC: Total food production +13-14 (including morale), so no food costs. Real cost 15 GC/turn.
  • OWC I: Total food production +19. Spending 4 GC/turn maintenance, making 3 back on extra sales. Real cost 16 GC/turn.
  • OWC II: Total food production +24. Spending 8 GC/turn on maintenance, making 5 or so back on extra sales. Real cost 18 GC/turn.

Or three?
  • No OWC: +18 food production. Making about 2.5 GC/turn on food.
  • OWC I: About +29 food production. Making about 8 GC/turn on food.
  • OWC II: About +36 food production. Making about 12 GC/turn on food.

Which is to say: OWC I and II become a good deal for you, at least in principle, around 3 farmers. With 1-2 farmers, they're not as appealing, because they basically get you as many food as you're spending GC on maintenance, and unless your planet is importing food, that's not cost-effective.

So if you wanted to make an industrial planet, the best case seems to be to ditch the OWC and have two farmers. At that point, you can make the space elevator or not; keep in mind, space elevators reduce the production value you can scrap a ship for, so if you have another planet nearby building stuff that has a space elevator, just make stuff here without, send it there, and scrap it for production; it'll save you 6 GC per turn.

Note that, on a richer planet, the benefits of having farmers become much more noticeable. If the planet were Very Rich, you might be better off importing food than farming, even!
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08-23-2012, 03:11 AM
Post: #2
RE: Starbase Orion by the numbers
Wow Seebs. Well thought out and well written. Thank you. Rocco, can we sticky this please?

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08-23-2012, 04:54 AM (This post was last modified: 08-23-2012 05:14 AM by 37ddV.)
Post: #3
RE: Starbase Orion by the numbers
I always thought Arid had more pop > swamp. Like I find that med arid is 9 swamp is like 6.
Does gravity affect research at all?

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08-23-2012, 07:56 AM
Post: #4
RE: Starbase Orion by the numbers
(08-23-2012 04:54 AM)37ddV Wrote:  I always thought Arid had more pop > swamp. Like I find that med arid is 9 swamp is like 6.
Does gravity affect research at all?

I can double-check, I could be wrong. I was surprised to find that arid had lower farming; I had thought arid and swamp were both "one step from terran" and got the same numbers. ... Yup, you're right, swamp is in the lower column.

I don't believe gravity affects research.
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08-23-2012, 01:53 PM (This post was last modified: 08-23-2012 01:54 PM by VanderLegion.)
Post: #5
RE: Starbase Orion by the numbers
Swamp is actually between barren and arid planets. Swamp planets get 2/4/6/8/10 population going from tiny to huge. They ARE 1 step short of terran for terraforming. And gravity affects EVERYTHING your population does on the planet - farming, industry and research.

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08-23-2012, 02:45 PM
Post: #6
RE: Starbase Orion by the numbers
Seebs, this is a boss article, this should definitely go on the wiki if hasn't yet.

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08-23-2012, 03:49 PM
Post: #7
RE: Starbase Orion by the numbers
Great job Seebs!

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08-24-2012, 02:49 AM
Post: #8
RE: Starbase Orion by the numbers
(08-23-2012 01:53 PM)VanderLegion Wrote:  Swamp is actually between barren and arid planets. Swamp planets get 2/4/6/8/10 population going from tiny to huge. They ARE 1 step short of terran for terraforming. And gravity affects EVERYTHING your population does on the planet - farming, industry and research.

Well, more updates incoming, then! I've updated the swamp listing. What about oceans? I don't see any in my current game, so I can't easily check.
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08-24-2012, 07:12 AM (This post was last modified: 08-24-2012 07:15 AM by VanderLegion.)
Post: #9
RE: Starbase Orion by the numbers
(08-24-2012 02:49 AM)seebs Wrote:  
(08-23-2012 01:53 PM)VanderLegion Wrote:  Swamp is actually between barren and arid planets. Swamp planets get 2/4/6/8/10 population going from tiny to huge. They ARE 1 step short of terran for terraforming. And gravity affects EVERYTHING your population does on the planet - farming, industry and research.

Well, more updates incoming, then! I've updated the swamp listing. What about oceans? I don't see any in my current game, so I can't easily check.

Ocean has same pops as barren.
The Planets page on the wiki has the details for population maxes, industry based on minerals, and gravity based on size/minerals, then the individual planet type pages have more information, such as farming numbers.

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08-24-2012, 07:46 AM
Post: #10
RE: Starbase Orion by the numbers
Yeah, I shopped around until I found a saved game with an ocean, updated the listings. And yes, gravity affects research.

So some notes on this:

I usually play with a Rich homeworld. After thinking about these numbers more, I tried a new strategy when starting up. Until recently, my default allocation was two people on my abundant planet, and one on each other, on hoarding so that when I researched something (usually factories), I could build it right away. Other people were on food or research.

This game, I moved one person to the barren world immediately, set it on hoarding, had the two people on the abundant world do research, and had two or three people on the rich homeworld do hoarding. Then arranged to build a ship that cost at least 100ish production (125 is the closest I could get) before research completed, so I could scrap it on the abundant world. So basically, for those first 20 turns, I had two people working on rich worlds rather than on an abundant world, which is about 40 production extra. Similar tactics throughout; the people on the abundant world never do anything but research, because they're not as good at anything but research.

Now I have a swamp world, and I'm using it as a tuning buffer for farming; I have someone there farm if it lets me put someone on the rich terran world to work on something more productive, but otherwise I'm keeping them on things they're better at.

This kind of thing really does add up. Basically, by the time leaders were on offer, I had more research done AND more stuff built than I have in previous games.
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