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 Post subject: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:49 pm 
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An idea that came to me, more or less independently than as a result of thinking about game issues. I like the idea of class separation; builders and attackers and traders and spies each having their own distinct tactics which reward them. I'd like to see these tactics become successful to the point where players can reach the top of the leaderboard by using them well. Since most players have an idea of what kind of tactics they want to use in a game, I'd like to propose a way of "specialising" for your play style. Players pick a primary trait when their player is created. This cannot be changed once the player is created and nobody can tell what trait you picked. Some examples:

No Primary Trait: All values equal.
Coloniser: Your people breed like rabbits! You can't stop them! The base reproduction rate is increased by 50%, however your hull size is reduced to make room for the crew's large daycare center.
Drag Engines: Your engineers tweak your engines for immense acceleration. Engine tech level is increased by 3% or 10 levels, whichever is greater, for the purpose of combat only. Due to the immense fuel consumption, however, your maximum RS speed is limited to the equivalent of tech level 200.
Shroudmaker: Your superior cloaking technology boosts your ability to hide from enemies. Spy chances are increased by 10% and the cloak ability of your ship, fighters and planets increases by 2% or 5 levels, whichever is higher.
Broker: Your financial skills see credit production on your planets soar, and dignitaries are less likely to embezzle from you, but your penny pinching ways reduce the effectiveness of all tech levels by 1.
Pacifist: You just want to live in your own pocket of the universe and not bother anyone. Your SD is calculated as if you had 15% more fighters than you do, but you cannot use the nova bomb.

I've taken rough guestimates on the factors, but I think allowing the player to tweak their experience one way or another allows for a lot more diversity in the play styles and tactics. Feel free to add your own ideas for traits if you like the concept.


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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:50 am 
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Well first I'll say that I don't necessarily like all your class types. The spy type has not drawbacks, and the pacifist would attract like every builder in the game and make things real hard for attackers. And then, with the engine one, being limited to 200 engines burns turns like mad, and really stunts growth in the beginning, since players won't be able to rely much on RS trade routes. The coloniser one would really make stuff difficult in the beginning of the game too, when hulls means life. And the broker one really had a joke of a drawback. If you're making more money, you can easilly afford to upgrade all your planets by one tech to compensate. I mean, have you seen the cost of a planet tech upgrade these days? It's dirt cheap.

Next, I'll say that I don't like the idea in general. Yes, this does diversify the playing styles, but in a way, it also limits them. I love how in AAT a person can do anything, with any mix of play styles. They can be a building attacker, building their main SG for cash flow, then attacking, like I do. They can be an attacking builder, taking other people's planets and keeping them for large cash flow and never having to build a planet of their own, like Shess does. This really puts limits on stuff like that, by locking people into playing styles and allowing less individual freedom as far as how someone wants to play the game.



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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:43 pm 
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It's a way of specialising to advance your own play style, not limit you. If you want to be more open, you can choose to be without a primary trait and play the game that way. But in both your examples you're actually making the point I was making. You can play AAT in many different ways, but chances are you're not going to go into a game playing every style. You're going to focus on a particular strategy, and being able to select a trait that would benefit that strategy at a cost that wouldn't affect you so much is the whole point.

I mean, for your building attacker strategy. You like to build up a main SG for cash flow, then start attacking. So maybe you want a benefit to your build ability so you can either build quicker or get more bang for your buck once you're established, or maybe you want to go for a longer term gain and get a trait that benefits your attacking ability, so you'll be more dangerous once you're set up. Would you sacrifice spying ability for this? Or maybe lock out the Super Cargo and Columbus, forcing you into building early and working up to an Endy and killing your trade ability until then? (It can be done and given your build strategy it might be worth it for the right bonus, albeit be a bit dangerous early on).

The point of the trait system is to give players a challenge to overcome by the limitations, but make it a tempting prospect due to the benefits conveyed.


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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:40 am 
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I've mentioned versions of this idea to Tarnus a few times as it's something I highly support. The fact is that these sorts of bonus traits are already in the process of being added, albeit in a way much different than how you describe. It should also be mentioned that we may never see it in out lifetime.

The Tech Tree thread somewhere on these forums has a ton of ideas that were added by the players back when the Research and Build ideas were first being mentioned. Tech upgrades and buildings on particular planets would create a kind of stylized play. However I'm sure that whenever they get the research and build system working that modifications of your ideas could be added, so don't stop giving them.

EDIT : I just did a search of the forums for that old Tech Tree topic and it doesn't seem to be around anymore... I can't find it. However I sent PJ a private message about it (Sent at: Sat May 22, 2004 4:35 pm ) so you can see how long this idea has been on the back burner. At the time they were re-writing 50% of the games code to pave the way for this change and PJ told me that the implementation of this was a very very long way away. I never guessed he meant more than 4 years away. I'm still as anxious as the day they first mentioned an "Age of Empires" like tech tree.



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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:16 am 
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By "Age of Empires" do you mean specific races that have specific ultimate techs? Or a tech tree with Age based tiers?
Or what, exactly?

Research and Build is a concept I don't fully grasp in the context of AAT. I'll admit I never looked back at the discussions regarding it. It's just been referenced as some ethereal add on. I could guess at how it would be implemented, but it'd only be a guess. I'm assuming it's focused on planetary bonuses. You research the bonus, then build it, and boom. Extra colonist growth. Boost to energy production. Fewer turns to build a ship you purchase, what have you.


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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:22 pm 
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As far as the trait thing, I guess it would be ok with the option of having no trait, but you'd have to work really hard to make sure everything was balanced, and to be honest, I don't think it quite would be as you described it, Instinct.

by "Age of Empires," I think Tonto meant the computer strategy, "Age of Empires". :P It's like most other strategy games. You build buildings, you use the buildings to build troops, then you go kill everyone else. I liked it. And, of course, there are also tech upgrades, to give your calvary more attack, your infantry more defense, your seige weapons more range, etc.

Though perhaps in part, I don't think that was the idea behind research and build. I think the idea was that you could research and produce better fighters, more effective torps, even nova bombs. It's not just about researching the technology, it's about building stuff too.



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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:59 pm 
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I'm familiar with AOE, Val. :P

What I meant was how R&B actually compares to it. AOE had two distinct divergences from common tech trees found in other RTS, and even TBS games. For one, upgrades were tiered into the different Ages. This organised the technologies so that players couldn't overspecialise. For instance, you couldn't upgrade your food production until you were using advanced farming techniques while everything else was in the stone age. You MIGHT be able to still be running around with clubs, but it was highly unlikely and generally pointless.

Second, there were individual races in the game who had specialised technologies specific to them, while the majority of the tech tree was shared. Normally, you'd have either a Civilasation style tech tree, where all races researched the same technologies, which makes sense in the real world. Alternately, you'd have a C&C style tech tree, where different sides had fewer similarities and were defined more by their differing tech than anything else. In AOE, there were many more races, but fewer differences between them. One race might be different from another only because one got a bonus to fishing, and later could research a powerful naval unit, whilst the other got a bonus to woodcutting, and better ballistas.

So when someone says to me that a tech tree for a given game is similar to AOE, I think in terms of what made the AOE tech tree different from standard tech trees. Indeed, the second point seems quite similar to the primary traits system I'm outlining. The first point is something I've mulled over as a solution to both the exponential growth problem we've talked about in the trade revamp topic, and to the recurring problem of larger players attacking smaller players. Tiering upgrades to separate players into classes similar to advancing through different ages could serve to create a distinct marker which could be used for balancing. I.E., you can only make so much money in the early game before it becomes profitable to research/build/buy a particular upgrade (maybe a new ship?) that catapults you into the next tier. From there there are new bonuses to increase your wealth, however any interactions with smaller players would come with a penalty due to your higher rank.

I threw out the idea since it was overly complex and didn't look like it was going to solve anything, though. I still like the primary traits idea as a means of subtly adding depth to a player's potential strategies. An attacker with engine bonuses would play different to an attacker with fighter or torp bonuses, which would play differently again to an attacker who say, took a bonus to planetary shields and tried to capture enemy planets and use the shield bonus to hold on to them.


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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:30 pm 
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The plan of research and build is to enable all kind of different items to be researched. You would devote colonists to research a specific technology. Once the research was complete then that planet could produce that item. Then it takes time to build it.

Now only the one planet can build items it researched so that planet becomes very valuable. If you lose it, you may very well lose the research for that item. Then another player suddenly gets to be able to build the items without the time it takes to research. (Another reason planets becomes extremely valuable)

Research items are anything from weapon and mine classes to planetary defense classes. Imagine the ability to research an item that is a nova deflector, or nullifier. Or even bio research where you could develop bio weapons that could spread from planet to planet. So a player could be his own worst enemy if he were infected.

Research and build is one of those things we have had on the burner for a long time and it will create alot of cool things that we dont have available now.

If we can keep PJ away from changing combat and start back on R&B that would be cool :)



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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:37 pm 
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Well it sounds like a lot of work, and would fundamentally change strategies within the game if it were implemented.
I'd say get cracking, since changes you make now might become obsolete once it comes in. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:34 pm 
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Yeah, Sage is right about what your doing now being wasted due to obsoletion.

I don't have a problem with the proposed battle changes either though. In fact, I think it would be great to sorta merge that with R and B.

Tarnus, what you said about the one planet having the research is great, and I would certainly want the ideas we've thrown around in the other thread about not being able to easily destroy a planet if that were the case, but COME ON, this is the information age! Planets should be able to share technology. Once a planet completes some given research, all planets should be able to build it.

However, I do agree that when the planet is captured, research is captured too. Just look at how America and Russia scrambled to pick up defeated German rocket scientists and stuff after WWII. That'd be great, and would give attackers all new motivation.



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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:15 am 
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Sorry I never answered your question concerning how it was like Age of Empires, Sage, but i've been on a bit of a sebatical. Tarnus seemed to have given you a clear enough answer as to what it was about, but he neglected to say what happened to the long ass Tech Tree thread that was on the forums.

I did find this though :

Creeperman's (you may not know him, he's been gone a while as far as I know) thoughts on ship add-ons

http://forums.aatraders.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48



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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:40 am 
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Valience wrote:
Tarnus, what you said about the one planet having the research is great, and I would certainly want the ideas we've thrown around in the other thread about not being able to easily destroy a planet if that were the case, but COME ON, this is the information age! Planets should be able to share technology. Once a planet completes some given research, all planets should be able to build it.


Well think of it like this. The items were researched and the technology to be able to build that is only on that one planet. In order for another planet to build that item it still needs to research as its about the time it takes to build the facilities to research and commence building of the researched items ;) This fixes your information age comment :)



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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:12 am 
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Since we're only in the most basic phases of this development, I'll acknowledge that it's more or less needless for me to go into the following detail, but I'm going to anyway.

How about a compromise? Once you research a technology, you can build it on any planet, but if you build it on a planet that did not research it, it takes like 2 times longer or something, for reasons you already suggested. That way, the player has a choice. If it's something they want to mass produce on many planets, they should research it on all the planets, or else the mass production is going to be really really slowed down by not having it researched, but if they just want one of whatever it is on that planet, they just have to research it once somewhere else, and since they only need one, they don't need to spend the extra time researching it on all the planets.

As always, options are the way to go. This will give the players that take the time to think about how to optimize production rates the advantage, while lazy players that either just research something once or research something that they don't need as much everywhere will be seeing a tangible loss in efficiency. An addition that rewards thought and planning is a good addition, right?



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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:33 pm 
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I'm not really following the logic on that one. After a tech is researched and built on one planet, what's the tangible difference, or tradeoff, between building it without research, and research then building it on a second planet?

If time taken to reasearch then build is greater than time taken to simply build, what stops players simply building after they've researched once?
If time taken to build is greater than time taken to research then build, why bother building without researching first?


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 Post subject: Re: Primary Traits
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:35 pm 
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Double post after reading Tonto's link. I like the concept of ship modules. Gives a bit more versatility to craft.


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