Author Topic: So, this whole crystal thing (wait I think I used that title already...)  (Read 5647 times)

Offline Aklyon

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The horse may or maynot be a pony as well.
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Offline Tridus

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We've argued this already...in this thread no less!
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With how prevalent zombies are these days, you really want to be sure!

Offline keith.lamothe

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With how prevalent zombies are these days, you really want to be sure!
Then stop beating the poor thing and get out the nuclear weapons! ;)
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Offline LaughingThesaurus

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With how prevalent zombies are these days, you really want to be sure!
Then stop beating the poor thing and get out the nuclear weapons! ;)
It's a mark V zombie horse. Didn't you look at its stats? It's immune to nukes.

Offline Aklyon

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With how prevalent zombies are these days, you really want to be sure!
Then stop beating the poor thing and get out the nuclear weapons! ;)
It's a mark V zombie horse. Didn't you look at its stats? It's immune to nukes.
Well then get out the msds (and/or enclaves) and just clobber it with a mass of younglings.
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Offline Tridus

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Just park a Protector Starship nearby and then it won't matter what it does.

Offline DrFranknfurter

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About metal and crystal. I would be a little sad to see crystal go... I used to like the silly micro of turning on and off usually crystal fabricators and energy structures, it was the only bit of skill required in economy... Micro isn't all bad, it makes you care about it, makes your actions feel important.

Perhaps limit crystal (exotic materials) to only required for certain 'exotic' hulls (most zenith ships?), increase the strength of all ships considered 'exotic' by a significant amount (3x) to give you an incentive to find and optimise crystal extraction. If metal functions as the basic resource produced by stations, it'd subsume crystal as it's used now, but if you reduce the number of available crystal deposits to 1/10 of what they are now each would become highly significant, almost as much as ARS facilities as they would allow you to field exotics -perhaps link exotic hull ship caps to available crystal? (much like the spire shipyards) so you could reach 2x, maybe 3x normal caps of slightly OP exoitcs if you make an effort to capture all the available crystal (exotic) deposits. Have a conversion rate of 100:1 metal:crystal (exotic) and have your home station only have 1 extractor.

I haven't heard people in favour of keeping crystal as-is, so what do people think of an overhaul of why crystal matters and how it should shape your strategy?

Offline x4000

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When it comes to crystal, the original intent and design was not for them to be interchangeable.  Different ships had extremely different costs in metal and crystal, and so you'd have to balance which planets you took partly based on evening out your resource needs to what you were trying to do. 

IE, a lot of the starships cost a lot of crystal, and so did bombers.  So if you wanted to pursue a strategy heavy with them, you had to look for planets with lots of crystal on them.  That was another consideration alongside the strategic importance of planets and the defensibility of the planets.  It was a MAJOR consideration, come to think.  And not just in the early game.

And there were often times where we'd be playing and dividing up who had what planets so that the metal and crystal resources could balance out the way we needed them to.  Or gifting extractors as needed to even things out, either way.

Then at some point, the ability to convert metal and crystal back and forth between one another was added.  I don't remember if this was in response to player request, but I think it was just something I decided to do.  I liked the idea of a "market" like in Age of Empires, but in the end the market here did not function at all as interestingly or as effectively as the one in AOE.

So then we had a slippery slope.  Conversion got automated in various ways, and then made completely automatic more recently.  With these things, the difference between metal and crystal did indeed become pointless. 

But even going back to just my first introduction of the manufactories... I feel like I can safely say that that was a mistake at this point.  Bad design call, because it made the whole decision-making process of which planet to take a lot easier in a bad way.  Certainly there are plenty of decisions going into what planets to take these days, there's no question.  But I think that some of the defensive strategies and the ultra-low-AIP strategies are made a bit easier by not having to consider planets for their M+C ratios.

I think that, in the current design, removing crystal makes a lot of sense because it really is pointless. 

HOWEVER, I also think that the original design is better.  The way to get back to that is simple: entirely remove the ability to convert between the two.  If you wind up with huge amounts of crystal and no metal, then oh well!  Better shift what sorts of things you are building, etc.  It's a lot more interesting in terms of you having to react to the terrain of the map, and adjust your build strategies accordingly.  That's the positive side.

The negative side is that it causes a bit more micro.  You have to watch your M+C more, and if you've lost some key extractors for a while then you wind up having to adjust build queues to compensate.  So there is a lot more fiddling with build queues, relatively speaking.  It's not horrible by any stretch, but it can get frustrating from time to time.  I sought to dispel that lower-moderate frustration by introducing manufactories, and in so doing caused many more problems.

Suggested Actions:
1. Since this is a good beta time period, there is freedom to experiment.  For now, just remove the ability to convert metal and crystal.  See how it feels.  Some people will undoubtedly cry foul because it will cause play styles to need to be adjusted.  But let's just get everyone to at least give it a chance and see what they think.  It's hard to evaluate something like this on paper, and it's an easy thing to change (and change back, as needed), go giving it a try in beta makes a lot of sense to me.

2. If people really wind up hating it, then I suggest that crystal be dropped.  And promoting the hacking stuff up to the interface there is probably then a good idea.
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Offline Eternaly_Lost

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I can tell you that dropping the conversation will just take more wall time in my games. But I play Fallen Spire, so planets taken tends to all of them, and Unit built also moves to everything just because I have spare K.

Personally, I like the idea of it being a Hacking Resource, because when you come down to it, even without conversation, Metal and Crystal are the same. If you are low on one, you just wait enough time to get enough. Knowledge is completely separate and nice. Have a third resource that is also off in a different direction would be interesting for sure.

Offline chemical_art

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Biggest issue i see with removing the.conversion ratios is more along a psychological thing. in the short term, players will compensate with more netflix time and placing more importqnce on economoc upgrades.  Over time, perhaps, players will care about planets more...in that the add yet another thing to consider in the map gen.
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Offline x4000

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Yes, I understand the issue from the psychological end, as well.  I have a feeling that just dropping the conversion probably won't go over well, even though it could have been cool if I'd just left well enough alone with not adding that in 2009.  But that's life.

In terms of metal and crystal being interchangeable... if they were not able to be converted, I don't know that that would have been the case.  That's kind of like arguing that all of the resources in Age of Empire III are all the same, since it just takes civilians in different fashions to go get them.  Now granted, wood is a finite and location-bound resource.  And at the very start of the game, so is food (not so later).  Stone is location-bound but not finite (IIRC; in some games it is, others not).  Iron is just like stone, but used for different things and requires you to take yet more territory since again it is location-bound.

Probably a lot of the differences in AOE3 come from the fact that the maps are incredibly tinier, and there is far more rarity of each kind of resource (iron and stone in particular).  So you're going to be seeing a lot of contestation over those things in particular.  Versus in AI War, even if you are having to go with the various planet mixes when you first take them, there's not a whole lot of contestation later on.  There's no real back and forth with them like there would be in AOE3.  It's just not that sort of game.

So... yeah, okay.  After thinking it out like that, I can support the argument that there is fundamentally no difference between them, and no reason to have them.  Therefore I endorse skipping the removal of the conversion, and just merging both resources into one.  And it sounds like the hacking addition in the toolbar would be a great idea and a lot more interesting, honestly, at this point.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Strictly speaking the addition of hacking doesn't require the removal of crystal.  I'm not trying to hold hacking hostage and saying we have to kill off crystal to get it, but the discussions on what to do with m+c led to the realization that merging might be best, which begged the question of what to put in its place.  I'd tried a few different ideas for making crystal something moderately-to-seriously "other" and they went over like a bunch of... crystal bricks? :)

That said, yea, I think the m+c merge is probably the best way forward.  The main reason is that for m+c if you don't have enough it's typically not-very-interesting to get more (mainly a question of wall clock time, unless you're in an unstable defensive situation which players often are not) and the penalties of not having enough are generally more annoying than dangerous.  As opposed to something like Knowledge where getting more is usually at least mildly interesting (generally involving the capture of or hacking of a planet), not primarily bound to wall-clock-time, and the penalty for not having enough knowledge is often either not noticeable (because you don't want to spend it now anyway) or dangerous.

Anyway, we'll see how things go.
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Offline Tridus

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One of the issues is just that crystal has gotten closer to metal. My command statins give equal amounts of both.  Most systems have it. Big things can often cause identical amounts of both (fallen spire & trader big items in particular). If its going to be kept it should become more unique than it is, but it'll never be as unique as a totally different resource type like hacking.

There's nothing wrong with a m+c design, but with limited space for resources I think hacking is more unique and thematically neat. :) we are fighting a computer after all!

Offline chemical_art

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Yeah, the.comparisons between AoE and AI War is hard. With no real fluid contension of reaources and the ai not needing wall time to buy its own stuff really. It is also hard to try to make resource node composition as important as strategic position or golems or ars in a fun way.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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and the ai not needing wall time to buy its own stuff really.
Actually wall-time is all it needs to buy its stuff.  Reinforcements, waves, CPAs, SF, SR, (most) exos, etc... all fueled primarily by time.  How _big_ they are is based on AIP (or spire city stuff, for FS exos, but you get the idea), but if you can manage to stay perpetually on the offensive and hit the AI fast, you're really cutting into the total number of AI ships you'll face unless you're significantly running up the AIP more than you otherwise would.
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