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IDProjectCategoryLast Update
0020879AI War 2[All Projects] SuggestionApr 6, 2019 4:44 pm
ReporterDominus ArbitrationisAssigned Tox4000Bughunter 
Status closedResolutionwon't fix 
Product Version0.809 Divide By Human 
Fixed in Version 
Summary0020879: Allow infinite science gathering
DescriptionI know that this is a limitation of game balance, but I wanted to give feedback on how the Science mechnic feels very artificial to at least one player (me).

We're able to mine (apparently?) infinite metal from the planets we control, but our Science teams can't think of ways to improve our existing starship designs, or even design new things without access to the ruins of AI worlds that we've captured (science) or stealing designs directly from AI design servers?

That just doesn't make sense to a player! (Or me).

Are the Human Remnant's Scientists incompetent?

A proposal:

Let the Human Remnant develop science indefinately, based on the number of planets that they control, and provide a large boost of science for capturing AI research servers (One per world?) or controlling neutral planets that have an AI command station remains (which are converted directly to science when the planet is captured).

That provides the player with a game mechanic that provides a very visceral demonstration of how insignificant the human faction is compared to the AI. The humans recover more science from the burnt out husks of the AI command stations than all of humanity manages to research on it's own a dozen hours.

While this can slightly change the game balance when the AIP doesn't increase automatically (instigator stations and risk analyzers), I don't think that the changes necessary to account for that are many or large.

Source: Jonesmz on Steam:
TagsNo tags attached.



Dec 28, 2018 1:44 pm

developer   ~0050679

I saw this, and I'd note I am very strongly against it. I'd also note that we debated what to do about the turtle behaviour Risk Analyzers encouraged, and this to me is much worse.

I see absolutely no benefits to this approach.

Dominus Arbitrationis

Dec 28, 2018 1:50 pm

administrator   ~0050681

This is what I put on Steam:

Yes, metal is infinite. This is mostly because balance, but from a lore standpoint also makes sense: you can mine the planet with utter disregard for the ecosystem, and you can mine any and all space junk and asteroids.

Your idea, to me, sounds nice on paper, but actually balancing it would be very hard. Plus, it would incentize turtle strategies, since you can just hunker down with low AIP and get infinite science that would eventually allow you to almost go toe to toe with the AI.


I do agree with you that it doesn't seem like a great idea, but figured I'd put it here in case someone had a brilliant idea about how to make it work.


Dec 28, 2018 1:53 pm

developer   ~0050682

Saw that as well, but thank you.


Dec 28, 2018 2:33 pm

manager   ~0050684

I also think this is a terrible idea. I actually disliked almost all of the ideas this person had on Steam; that person's ideas are for a different game, not this one.


Jan 11, 2019 5:30 pm

reporter   ~0050712

As much as I enjoy to turtle, this idea is just completely at odds with the asymmetry between the AI and the Humans. Totally reject this proposal imo


Feb 8, 2019 10:56 am

administrator   ~0050795

Agreed, this is a staple of the original game and the balance there and on this one, and not suitable for this game.

The scientists aren't incompetent, but they are studying something specific in each system and there is only so much to learn. Is the BS sort of general idea behind it.


Apr 6, 2019 4:38 pm

reporter   ~0051047

I'm aware that this is considered won't fix, but half of the other things that I complained about several months ago are being addressed by the upcoming release.

Here's my followup from Steam.

I think, for those here who didn't read this followup previously, you'll find that my suggestion wasn't as stupid as it sounds above.

Regardless of whether a mechanic is primarily intended for game balance or not, if the explaination for the mechanic is either of

1) Not actually provided in game
2) Purely a "post hoc" explaination that fits poorly

then it's a bad mechanic even if it accomplishes the game balance goals.

Video games, at their fundemental level, are simply numbers changing in a computer. The aspect of the numbers changing that people find enjoyable is some combination of the visual representation, the strategic challange presented by the rules, and the suspension of disbelief and "Losing yourself" in the fictional story. There's other stuff obviously, but I think these are the big three.

The vast majority of potential customers for a game want to see a thought out and consistant explaination of the universe portrayed by the game, even if they don't know to articulate that desire.

So by giving an explaination of a mechanic that doesn't quite fit, you're ruining the suspension of disbelief that your player has when they play your game, and you limit their enjoyment to only the visuals and the challange.

Saying that the science resource is acquired from reverse engineering the AI's stuff is not really self-consistant with the in-game representaton. If we were actually reverse engineering the AI's stuff, then the science acquired would:

1) Apply only to ships that the science team was able to recover and disect
2) Apply to all such ships equally

Once the human researchers pull apart the wreckage to learn whatever they learn, it's not like those human researchers are offering themselves as blood sacrifices to the space docks that make the better ship design. They should be able to apply their knowledge to all ships that the knowledge is applicable to.

E.g. recovering a handful of examples of better engine design should let you upgrade *most* of your ships engines at the same time (various design differences for how the engines are integrated into the ships not withstanding).

The existance of hacking away science is also non-sensical for the same reason. You can't just hack out knowledge that's applicable to only one specific ship design, but then be able to apply it to any arbitrary thing you want to at the moment you choose which upgrade.

Or on the flipside, you can't hack out the knowledge of a generally applicable design concept (e.g. better engines) and then only be able to apply that knowledge to a specific design once even though you had the option to apply it to 5 different ships before you applied it to one specific ship.

My initial suggestion isn't even really satisfatory in terms of making the in-game explaination make sense, but it makes it less "wtf?".

By letting the humans get 1 science per hour per planet, it demonstrates that humans have *some* scientists / engineers that are working on things. But then you simultaniously

1) Increase the cost of anything you can spend science points on, by 10x or 100x
2) Increase the science you get per planet the same way

Now the human player gets a visceral and immediate representation of exactly how *absolutely* outclassed they are compared to the AI.

As everyone here has said, this does slightly increase the incentive for the human player to turtle, but even if they're earning 5 science per hour, if you increase all the prices by 10x, it'll still take them 7500science / 5science/hour = 1,500 hours. At a game rate of 10x, that's still 6 days of real-world time before they're able to upgrade any of the starting ships to mark2.

If the human player really wants to really let their game chug for almost a week (at 10x speed), why bother stopping them? It's their gameplay experience.

If you increase the science points by 100x instead of 10x, now it'll take 2 months of real-world time (at 10x speed), and actually overshadows the whole "you can instantly upgrade anything you want with the knowledge you have, and then suddenly forget everything you learned" thing, by forcing home the notion that the AI is just so far advanced that humans have *very little* hope of understanding the AIs designs, and that they are lucky to be able to upgrade anything even by accident.

Again, this proposed change doesn't really solve the "this mechanic doesn't really make sense" problem, but it shoves the problem in the corner with "You're so hopelessly outclassed that you're lucky to steal any data from the AI at all!!!" which at least mollifies my concern.

Other games, of course, do their science mechanics differently. They make the player choose a research project to work on, and then any science points acquired are applied to the current research topic immediately.

Subsequent research of any nature (even entirely unrelated fields) then get more expensive, for no bloody reason, when they should be getting cheaper. (e.g., I discovered the wheel, that should make researching agriculture faster, yes?)

But despite these other game's failings, at least their in-game representation of the metaphor of science research is compatible enough with most people's suspension of disbelief that they don't need to find any kind of post-hoc explaination to rationalize why the mechanic is acceptable.

I'm certainly not saying that you should replace the existing mechanic with the one I just summarized from other games. Nor am I saying that you should necessarily go with my initial suggestion.

I'm just trying to point out that the existing mechanic doesn't make sense, and I'd like to see the game have more of an explaination provided, in-game, to justify it.


Apr 6, 2019 4:44 pm

reporter   ~0051048

And I also notice that in a round about way, the upcoming release ( seems to address some of my concerns, with regards to technology upgrades applying to multiple ship types instead of just one ship.

E.g.: Note that all of these techs are based around upgrading all the ships that you have that subscribe to this tech via tech_upgrades_that_benefit_me, and that crosses fleets.

Issue History

Date Modified Username Field Change
Dec 28, 2018 1:31 pm Dominus Arbitrationis New Issue
Dec 28, 2018 1:31 pm Dominus Arbitrationis Status new => assigned
Dec 28, 2018 1:31 pm Dominus Arbitrationis Assigned To => x4000Bughunter
Dec 28, 2018 1:44 pm RocketAssistedPuffin Note Added: 0050679
Dec 28, 2018 1:50 pm Dominus Arbitrationis Note Added: 0050681
Dec 28, 2018 1:53 pm RocketAssistedPuffin Note Added: 0050682
Dec 28, 2018 2:33 pm BadgerBadger Note Added: 0050684
Jan 11, 2019 5:30 pm zeusalmighty Note Added: 0050712
Feb 8, 2019 10:56 am x4000Bughunter Status assigned => closed
Feb 8, 2019 10:56 am x4000Bughunter Resolution open => won't fix
Feb 8, 2019 10:56 am x4000Bughunter Note Added: 0050795
Apr 6, 2019 4:38 pm jonesmz Note Added: 0051047
Apr 6, 2019 4:44 pm jonesmz Note Added: 0051048