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Round Table: Research changes, how to adjust Orbital Labs?
04-14-2013, 02:53 AM
Post: #1
Round Table: Research changes, how to adjust Orbital Labs?
As you all know, I have been making changes to research buildings. One such change as been to removal of per-building research production on research centers. Overall this has brought positive changes to the game, making research more strategic and stretching the tech tree longer into the game.

The next big question is what to do about orbital labs? I see orbital labs a a late game tech to help non-research races tech up; thus I believe they need to retain their per-building bonus to research (own a lot of planets, build a lot of labs, do a lot of research).

The problem (still) with orbital labs is that once the late game hits, there is no down-side to building them. Late game their maintenance cost is not much of a factor. They are orbital so they don't take up a building slot. And if you have a lot of planets, you can easily dwarf research focused races with little to no effort.

So, the focus of this round table is to garner some idea to how to retain their purpose (late game research for non-research races), yet still retain some downside such that building them is a strategic choice.



One such idea would be to change orbital labs such that they convert some portion of industry into research. As such, they would give less research returns on less productive planets, but higher returns (but less production!) on high production planets.

Another idea might be to tie them to gas giants? Lower the base per building research on labs to something small, but give them a boost when built in systems with gas giants. That would give them strategic positioning on the map, but still allow marginal research gains when built otherwise.



In conclusion, I ask this: what would be a (painful) downside to labs such that building them becomes a meaningful tradeoff?
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04-14-2013, 03:56 AM
Post: #2
RE: Round Table: Research changes, how to adjust Orbital Labs?
I don't it's worth adding a purpose to gas giants if they aren't being used in someway for production/energy. Seems kind of forced. I'd rather open up a bigger round table about doing something cool with gas giants and asteroids comprehensively.

If the issue with labs is - "maintenance costs not much of a factor" and "easily dwarf research focused races with little to no effort" - then the first line of action is to increase their maintenance costs and decrease their research bonus.

And/Or require AT LEAST ONE population be assigned to research to staff the orbital lab.

Or perhaps have them require command points?
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04-14-2013, 05:43 AM
Post: #3
RE: Round Table: Research changes, how to adjust Orbital Labs?
I play an industry build (because I like to win Tongue), and have always relied on research centers or labs for research. Before this beta, I just used research centers, and didn't often go for orbital labs. In this version, I completely skip research centers, and go straight for labs. Well, not quite straight. I'll pick up Efficient Factories and depending on the opposition, something in the military sector. The point is that labs are currently just taking the place of research centers.

If you think about it, you really only need 500-1000 research/turn to quickly develop more than you can build. It takes a couple turns to build something new, and a couple turns to research something that needs building. Any more isn't all that helpful.

So for an industry build, hitting 500 research or so is the goal.

For a science build, you have an advantage in researching, but usually a penalty in production. Building all the stuff you research takes away all your scientific advantage, as there are no scientists researching while you upgrade.

To get 500 research/turn, you need 166 normal scientists. If you take +1 science, it takes 125 scientists, and +2 takes 100. That is a LOT of people to achieve what you can get from 25 labs 2 - and why labs are currently overpowered. Add research center 3 plus +2 borderline genius and you need 62.5 people to hit 500 research/turn which is still quite a few early-mid game. And someone still needs to build all those research centers.

Personally, I would recommend the following to help out science builds:

1. Make slow thinker -2, not -1.
2. Make quick thinker +2, not +1.
3. Make borderline genius +4, not +2.

This would give a better advantage to scientists versus industry builds. I still take slow thinkers now. I probably would't for -2.

For labs, I would get rid of the free bonus production, and force people to use their people to research science. I would recommend (following VanderLegion's ideas on some other post):

1. Labs 1: +2 science/researcher
2. Labs 2: +4 science/researcher
3. Labs 3: +6 science/researcher

For a science build, you might be able to skip labs to focus on building all that cool stuff you developed earlier. Especially if you take research center. Or skip research center, and research labs. With labs 2 (+4 bonus) a borderline genius (+4 bonus) would still need 45 scientists to come up with 500/turn. But a industry-based race would be puttering along needing 166 people to get to that point.

However, an industry-based race will have an easier time building the labs, and with just labs 2 could negate 6 racial trait points. Combat engines are so important, and so is efficient factory 2, that I will probably still skip research center 1 (at least on the first pass). Which means labs will still be the way to go for an industry build. But once I get labs, I'll still have to pull away from production to research. This is how it should be, I think.

Labs would still serve the purpose to give industry builds the ability to catch up with science. Labs 2 would more than double scientific output versus a standard race.

With these systems implemented, to get 500 research:

A science race (borderline genius) (+4) with research center 3 (+3) and labs 3 (+6) with (3) base would need to dedicate 31 people to get 500 research/turn.

An industry race (3 base) with labs 2 (+4) would need to dedicate 71 people to get 500 research/turn. Labs 3 would take 55 people. Add research 3 and it takes 41 people.

Those numbers seem about right to me.

The great thing about science is you can do it on any planet. Food really should focus on Terran/Gaia. Industry focuses on Very Rich/Rich and to some extent Abundant. But a real *need* to research will give more purpose to all those other planets out there.
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04-14-2013, 05:50 AM
Post: #4
RE: Round Table: Research changes, how to adjust Orbital Labs?
(04-14-2013 03:56 AM)Mezmorki Wrote:  f the issue with labs is - "maintenance costs not much of a factor" and "easily dwarf research focused races with little to no effort" - then the first line of action is to increase their maintenance costs and decrease their research bonus.

I did that in the last beta patch. My conclusion was it was not enough.
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04-14-2013, 06:59 AM (This post was last modified: 04-14-2013 07:01 AM by rocco.)
Post: #5
RE: Round Table: Research changes, how to adjust Orbital Labs?
To riff off of diebo's thinking for a bit:

1) Knock the base research per colonist down to +2. Keep the racials the same.
2) Remove Orb Labs 2&3. Change Orbital Labs to give +1 per scientist system-wide, can still build one per planet, stacks. Raise the research cost(?)
3) Change the ancient ruins per scientist bonus to +3 (was +1).
4) (MAYBE) Add a new empire-wide tech, somewhere at the end of astrophysics, that gives a +25% research bonus, +50% to all planets inside a nebulae (including artificial nebula).

Reasoning and possible impacts:

1) Dropping the base research to +2, and keeping the racials the same keeps slow thinkers as a viable pick.

2) Dropping the base research raises the importance of getting RC early (especially for non-research).

3) The change to orbital labs brings more thought into going the orbital labs vs the research center route. Systems with more colonized planets can potentially see bigger gains (up to +5) system-wide, for less setup cost (3 buildings vs 9 buildings)

4) Removing the multiple tiers of orbital labs helps research races more than production races (not having to build all three versions of labs, on each planet)

5) The buff of ancient ruins also make those planets more valuable.

6) Adding an empire-wide tech, that costs a lot to research, gives a percentage bonus to research, and costs nothing to build does several things:
a) it helps move the end game along
b) it more helps research builds than production builds (the +% over the flat bonus)
c) it ties in with artificial nebula generator, a potentially large boost empire-wide late game (assuming you can get to it).


Going off of diebo's proposed sweet-spot of 500 research (we are going to make the assumption the average net gain from new orb labs is +3):

Slow thinkers (+1) who go straight to orbital labs (+3) would be +4 per, needing 125 scientists to maintain.
Slow thinkers (+1) with RC3 (+3) and orbital labs (+3) would be +7 per, needing 71 scientists to maintain.

Normal races (+2), straight to orbital labs (+3), would be +5, needing 100 scientists.
Normal races (+2), with RC3 (+3) and orbital labs (+3), would be +8, needing 62 scientists.

"Research Race" (+4), straight to orbital labs (+3), would be +7, needing 71 scientists.
"Research Race" (+4), with RC3 (+3) and orbital labs (+3), would be +10, needing 50 scientists.

I like that these track lower than diebo's example, because diebo did not take into account +% racials and +morale buildings. Once you factor in Free thinking, Shared Intel, and/or Sanctioned Sports the numbers change drastically. Let's assume for the moment an average race can reach +20% (simply changing the 500 to 400 for simplicity):

Slow thinkers (+1) who go straight to orbital labs (+3) would be +4 per, needing 100 scientists.
Slow thinkers (+1) with RC3 (+3) and orbital labs (+3) would be +7 per, needing 57 scientists.

Normal races (+2), straight to orbital labs (+3), would be +5, needing 80 scientists.
Normal races (+2), with RC3 (+3) and orbital labs (+3), would be +8, needing 50 scientists.

"Research Race" (+4), straight to orbital labs (+3), would be +7, needing 57 scientists.
"Research Race" (+4), with RC3 (+3) and orbital labs (+3), would be +10, needing 40 scientists.

"Research Race" (+4), with RC3 (+3) and orbital labs (+3), new tech (+2.5/roughty), would be +12.5, needing 32 scientists.

"Research Race" (+4), with RC3 (+3) and orbital labs (+3), new tech and all artificial nebulae (+5/roughty), would be +15, needing 26 scientists.
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04-14-2013, 08:52 AM
Post: #6
RE: Round Table: Research changes, how to adjust Orbital Labs?
I like it. I don't know that you'll need the late-game tech. We could always test it out.

And it doesn't make a ton of sense to have labs stack. Like a 4-planet system would sufdenly take on more importance. But logically, why? Perhaps labs could instead give a planetary +20 percent morale bonus (science bonus, but use morale code). This would benefit science builds more, as it should. And it would make labs different than research centers.

Maybe there could also be a +1 science tech (like advanced farming?).

I like it. I also don't like what it will do to my build. But overall I think if you move in this direction it will make science more strategic and open up more paths to victory.
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04-14-2013, 08:57 AM
Post: #7
RE: Round Table: Research changes, how to adjust Orbital Labs?
(04-14-2013 08:52 AM)Diebo Wrote:  And it doesn't make a ton of sense to have labs stack. Like a 4-planet system would sufdenly take on more importance. But logically, why? Perhaps labs could instead give a planetary +20 percent morale bonus (science bonus, but use morale code). This would benefit science builds more, as it should. And it would make labs different than research centers.

Oh, I like that a lot. Both simple and elegant.

1) Orb Labs 1/2/3 go to 10%/20%/30% bonus research

2) (MAYBE) New tech, "Cerebral Implants" or some such, which gives +1 per researcher empire wide.
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04-14-2013, 09:03 AM
Post: #8
RE: Round Table: Research changes, how to adjust Orbital Labs?
(04-14-2013 08:57 AM)rocco Wrote:  
(04-14-2013 08:52 AM)Diebo Wrote:  And it doesn't make a ton of sense to have labs stack. Like a 4-planet system would sufdenly take on more importance. But logically, why? Perhaps labs could instead give a planetary +20 percent morale bonus (science bonus, but use morale code). This would benefit science builds more, as it should. And it would make labs different than research centers.

Oh, I like that a lot. Both simple and elegant.

1) Orb Labs 1/2/3 go to 10%/20%/30% bonus research

2) (MAYBE) New tech, "Cerebral Implants" or some such, which gives +1 per researcher empire wide.

Yes, I like that! +1 to both!
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04-14-2013, 11:52 AM
Post: #9
RE: Round Table: Research changes, how to adjust Orbital Labs?
% boost from labs works for me. As diebo said, the stacking doesnt make a ton of sense, and adds a LOT of variability to how useful it is. You're using +3 as the number for labs, but the planets per system probably average closer to 2 than 3, with plenty of 1 planet systems, and some 4 planet.

The one thing about a 10/20/30% bonus though is that it's going to be a smaller overall bonus. If you have a research race with rc3 for +7 per scientist, you're only adding 2.1 per scientist vs the 3 you were looking at with stacking labs. For a slow thinker race with rc3 for +4, that's only 1.2 per scientist.

GC ID - VanderLegion, GMT-9. Sandbox GC ID (Beta) - VanderLegion
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04-14-2013, 01:11 PM
Post: #10
RE: Round Table: Research changes, how to adjust Orbital Labs?
(04-14-2013 11:52 AM)VanderLegion Wrote:  The one thing about a 10/20/30% bonus though is that it's going to be a smaller overall bonus. If you have a research race with rc3 for +7 per scientist, you're only adding 2.1 per scientist vs the 3 you were looking at with stacking labs. For a slow thinker race with rc3 for +4, that's only 1.2 per scientist.

We may have to tweak the numbers a bit. However, I am imagining that it would be a percentage bonus of total RP generated at the colony. Which would include percentage bonuses from morale, Shared Intel, Persnickety, etc.

With that in mind, we can use the simple comparison that any colony that can generate a total of 100 RP the new orbital labs will be equivalent to the previous orb labs.

As a comparison for how difficult that might be in practice, I mod'd the code just for the change to +% on orbitals and ran it against a game I have with diebo. I was running a research race to test with (persnickety, free thinking, and borderline genius).

I have a colony with RC2, Orb1, sanctioned sports, with 12 people set to research, generating a total of +134 research. +12 of that is coming from orbital labs.

With that set up I would only need 44 ppl on research to maintain 500/turn.

Bumping it all the way up, with RC3, Orb3, sanctioned sport, and 12 people, it generates +181 per turn.

With that set up I only need 33 ppl on research to maintain 500/turn.
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