Discussion on game mechanics, balancing etc.
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Re: Research

Post by ForFunAndProfit » Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:35 am

Has any progress on this been made? If not I would love to assist.

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Post by Trilarion » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:54 am

Hi, this is the current state of affairs.

The idea is to have techs researchable from three branches (industrial, militaric and culture/diplomacy) where in each branch a further advanced tech needs all lower techs (and maybe some lower techs from the other brances) so one must/can specialize. The names and exact impacts of the techs is not yet decided and your input is strongly welcome. Just write down all your ideas. :)

Basically we need nicely sounding titles for historic immersion and meaningful impacts (not like "your artillery is 3% more effective" but real impacts), ordered in a meaningful way. In the end the game design document should contain a whole research technology graph as for example in a Civilization game and then the programmers will implement it.

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Re: Research

Post by Veneteaou » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:39 am

After a great passing of time, I've come to the conclusion that I am the only active member left of the Project Aftermath team on the Imperialist forums. That said, the research team did quite a bit of work coming up with an alternate tech tree in the style of Imp1, and I'm thinking it might save us some time/trouble to use it here as a starting point. It's not exactly what the design document was going for with a tech tree, but it might be useful in some way to whomever ends up having to do this work.

The information is all there. If someone here wants to work on this but needs the information in a more condensed format, I can do that.


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Re: Research

Post by Veneteaou » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:42 pm

I've condensed the research that the old team did. We tended to spread dates and numbers of upgrades because we hadn't really decided on a solid time period for the game. We also assumed that everything in the game would be upgradable through tech trees, including industry, trade, transport, and diplomacy. We didn't get to everything, as the team lost the leader as we were working out military units, and for the most part we were disbanded.

The following people contributed to this list:


Industry Upgrades

1764- Spinning Jenny
1771- Water Wheel
1784- Power Loom
1830- Robert's Loom
1894- Northrop Loom

Blast furnace upgrades
[Available to buy at start]-Pig Iron
1828-Hot blast
1837-Raw Anthracite Coal

Paper Production
1798-Fourdrinier Machine

Civilian Units

Miner: 1627: Black Powder used to mine.
Miner: 1770: World's first mining academy established.
Miner: 1821: Square-Set Timbering.
Miner: 1874: Dynamite

Engineer (Roads): 1775: Pierre Tresaguet's Improved Roman Roads
Engineer (Roads): 1807: Albert Gallatin's Highways
Engineer (Roads): 1816: Macadam Roads
Engineer (Roads): 1804: High Pressure Steam Railroads
Engineer (Roads): 1830: Standard Gauge Rail
Engineer (Roads): 1888: Overhead Wires (that powered engines en route)
Engineer (Depots): : Hump Yards
Engineer (Depots): 1844: Transfer Sheds

Engineer (Ports): 1709: Wet Docks
Engineer (Ports): 1774: Quicklime Cement
Engineer (Ports): 1793: Hydraulic Lime
Engineer (Ports): 1802: William Jessop's floating harbor
Engineer (Ports): 1863: John Hawkshaw's Report on the Suez Canal
Engineer (Ports): 1883: All-Steel Bridges

Developer: 1767: James Steuart's theory of diminishing returns on land.
Developer: 1817: David Ricardo's theories on comparative advantage.
Developer: 1846: Repeal of the Corn Laws.
Developer: 1873: Imperial Tariff Barriers.

Farmer: 1730: 4-Crop Rotation.
Farmer: 1786: Andrew Meikle's Threshing Machine.
Farmer: 1801: General Enclosure Act.
Farmer: 1846: Multiple Effect Vacuum Pan Evaporator.

Farmer(Cotton): 1794: Cotton Gin.
Farmer(Cotton): 1850: Cotton Harvester.

Rancher: 1783: The Dishley Society.
Rancher: 1822: Coates's Herd Book.
Rancher: 1849: "The Bates Blood."

Military Units

Light Artillery: 1762: Horse Artillery
Artillery: 1776: Gribeauval System
Artillery: 1789: Flintlock Firing Mechanism
Artillery: 1840: Rifled Cannon
Artillery: 1855: Breech-Loaded Cannon
Artillery: 1883: Railway Gun
Artillery: 1885: Richtfläche Sight
Artillery: 1897: Hydro-Pneumatic Recoil Mechanism

Cavalry: 1745: Riding Houses and Riding Masters
Cavalry: 1756: Frederic's Axiom of Cavalry Unity in Lowositz
Light Cavalry: 1760: Chasseurs
Light Cavalry: 1812: guerrilla warfare and special operations tactics (Cossacks)
Cavalry: 1831 Barb[arian] Horses
Heavy Cavalry: 1833: Single Rank System
Cavalry: 1861: Dismounted Combat Brigades
Cavalry: 1902: Armored Cars
Heavy Cavalry: 1914: Tanks

Light Infantry; 1756; Rifled musket. Fairly self-explanatory.
Light Infantry; 1803; The Light Regiments. Similar to the Formation approach below, the development of Light Regiments (which I admit happened prior to 1803, but in the interest of not obsoleting the first light infantry unit within a few game years I felt it prudent to push the date back a bit) represents a good opportunity to upgrade the Light Infantry to keep them in pace with the development of the Line Infantry below.
Light Infantry; 1849; Minie rifle. A step up from the rifled musket, and a good historical indicator of the increasing convergence happening between the Light and Line infantry at the time while at the same time keeping their strengths slightly separate.
Light Infantry; 1895; bolt-action rifle. This essentially merges the Light and Medium Infantry together. This is what happened historically and unless the game stats of the Light Infantry are seriously miscalculated, shouldn't create any gamey situations where everybody is spamming Light Infantry.

Medium Infantry; 1700; Flintlock and Bayonet. This is a fairly obvious development.
Medium Infantry; 1803; Formations. This is less so, and the starting date I picked is based on the outbreak of the Napoleonic war which was when, one could argue, formations began to take on increasing importance. Given the limited number of advancements we can put in this and the general lack of development between the early 18th century and the mid 19th, a technology called Formations (covering things like platoon fire, forming the square, skirmish line etc, in other words the military theory that developed at the time to deal with the technological advancements of the preceding 100 years) at around this time period is the best compromise I can see between historical accuracy, game design requirements and common sense.
Medium Infantry; 1853; rifled musket. There were rifled muskets prior to 1853, but it was during the Crimean war that they started to become more commonplace and distributed to infantry units en masse.
Medium Infantry; 1895; Bolt-action rifle. This one speaks for itself really.

Heavy Infantry; 1700; Grenades. Fairly standard.
Heavy Infantry; 1803; Fortress Assault. This one was difficult to decide. Basically, by the early 19th century, the idea of a dedicated grenadier had lost all traction. They were still retained to storm fortresses and as elite units though. With that in mind and in keeping with the progress I've designed for the other infantry units so far, the upgrade they receive here is largely doctrinal.
Heavy Infantry; 1864; Gatling Gun. Heavy infantry pretty much came to an end around this time. There was a last attempt at bringing them back in with the German stormtropper, but by the mid-nineteenth century they were essentially all done. What I'm trying to represent here is to keep the specialized nature of the Heavy Infantry unit, but make it more defensive in nature. It's a complete reversal of it's previous role, and one that I'm not happy about. An alternative I considered and am I kinda leaning towards at this point is that the third incarnation of the Heavy Infantry unit should be a support unit able to hit hard offensively and hold its ground better than Medium or Light Infantry. The best way I can think to emulate this is that the Heavy Infantry (1864) is a specialized heavy weapons regiment. There's a bit of historical and military fudging in that respect, but I think it's the best solution that keeps the idea of what the Heavy Infantry does.
Heavy Infantry; 1912; Vickers Machine Gun. Pretty much the same as the above.

The following is a potential new unit, the Medic:

Medic: 1745: Company of Surgeons.
Medic: 1818: Blood Transfusion on Humans.
Medic: 1867: Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery.
Medic: 1902: Alexis Carrel publishes work on the connection and reconnection of blood vessels.
Medic: 1916: The Carrel-Dakin Method.


I did quite a bit of this list, and it was a painstaking process of reading through turn-of-the-century free domain works that I found on Google Books. I learned a lot, but it was a mountain of work. If we have any people who aren't otherwise tied up in art/sound/music/programming, it would be great if they worked on the research tree and game documentation and dialogue.

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Re: Research

Post by Xylander » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:00 pm

I'd strongly suggest not to go for an own tech tree. Things like that become a nightmare in balancing and we are far too few to do that. Keeping close to the original might be best. Still we can leave this open to the community. Practically we can deliver tech chains (not a tree at all) as text files/scripts. This way we have something to start with (the original techs or the ones above) and can improve it later without change to the software.

We'll have to decide which types of improvement are achievable by scientific research: better fortifications, roads, ships, units, more efficient resource gathering, trade and so on. And it won't be possible for modders to add new units or ships. But they can decide when tech becomes available and whether it does 5% or 20% bonus to something. There will be lots of game elements that are locked at game start. They'll be unlocked through research.

In short: I'd like to have it the imperialism style. That means spending money for research. Mor money = more research. More money = less efficient (like in Imperialism 2). And that techs become available at a certain point (year). In the first releases even the Imperialism style (buy tech for fixed price) might be sufficient.

I don't think that mixing it with a civilization style research will deliver a better gaming experience. In Imperialism anything is buyable: military power, infrastructure, diplomatic relations and technical advance. Every resource you get can be sold to get money. There are no things like research points, culture points or the like!

I hope these things are debatable, so I look forward to a vital discussion!
Don't repeat yourself. (DRY)
Keep it simple, stupid. (KISS)
You ain't gonna need it. (YAGNI)

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Re: Research

Post by Veneteaou » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:49 am

My personal stance on everything here is that we should be strictly copying Imp1, which was the greatest game God ever gave to man. Trilarion on the other hand has quite a variety of goals, which are reflected in the design documents.

Personally, any tech/research mechanisms are going to be a mountain of work, but I think that's doable if we pick up a few members who aren't artists or programmers.

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Re: Research

Post by Trilarion » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:30 pm

Research in the original Imperialism wasn't very important. I would extend it a bit. One idea is not to pay directly for research and get it immediately but to pay for scientists or libraries or universities and then you get the technology after a while. The difference is that you have to plan ahead. The other idea is that there should be some notion of chains or branches where some technologies must be researched first. The three branches would be military, industrial and cultural/diplomatic. Not only does this require even more planning ahead but also making trade-off between militaric and industrial development which is the most interesting balancing here in the game. What is bad in my experience from multiplayer games in Civilization is allowing to trade technology. This way cooperative gameplay results in huge advantages for one group. Of course one could have easier research if a friend has researched something already.

The impact and simpleness of the research could maybe adjusted by the number of technologies and how much they bring. This is a completely open topic. So do we want 10 Techs which are researched easy and do not give much benefit or more? I guess a good number is about 40 techs in 3 branches that are not expected to be researched by everyone in a game.

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Re: Research

Post by Veneteaou » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:05 pm

Hmm... Trying to tie together many technologies into a few tech trees is creating another level of research.

It seems to me that, the more we limit the amount of research a player can realistically expect to get to in a game, the harder it is to balance the game. If there are long-term consequences to selecting one tree over another, then we have to balance the upgrades (as well as the rest of the game) so that a research decision in 1820 isn't ruining gameplay a year, a decade, or a century later. And if research was a game balancing industry and military, then we've already marginalized/undermined the importance of trade and diplomacy - the focal points of the original Imperialism games. In fact, that's one of the reasons that research was so straightforward in Imp1: 90% or more was vital to success, and although there were some requirements the player needed to balance the industrial and diplomatic aspects of economy to be able to afford all of them.

Personally, I think for initial release we build a tech tree system that is fully achievable by a player. It minimizes the testing and balancing work our design/QA workers would need to do initially, and is something we can continue to expand on post-release once we see how the rest of the game functions.

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Re: Research

Post by Xylander » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:49 pm

Veneteaou wrote:Personally, I think for initial release we build a tech tree system that is fully achievable by a player. It minimizes the testing and balancing work our design/QA workers would need to do initially, and is something we can continue to expand on post-release once we see how the rest of the game functions.
I second this. Let's do it incrementally. Early versions of our game may have a short playtime. They might have only few technologies to research, too. Research should be something a player has to do but without attracting too much attention at all. A player may chose to invest more in research than others and become a tech leader but he'll have to sacrifice something for it. It's a game element supporting playing styles.

I don't see decisions between tech branches like between skill branches in RPG in this game! It's completely unrealistic, too. One nation may have tanks before others. A second nation might have missiles with a longer range. But in the end these techs will be available to all nations. We can have this in our game, too. Techs already researched become cheaper to research: the more nations have researched a tech and the better the releations your nation has to one or more of them, the cheaper research of a tech is for your nation. (Maybe signining some pact further lowers costs for researching techs the other nation already has researched.)

I have an idea how Trilarions wish to have a bit more complexity in research can go together with my idea of money 'not leaving the system'. The player will simply have the option to employ scientists in the University building in his capital. The university can be expanded like factories and the player has to pay for every worker employed as a scientist. Internally the game will create research points and cumulate them until research on a topic is finished.
Don't repeat yourself. (DRY)
Keep it simple, stupid. (KISS)
You ain't gonna need it. (YAGNI)

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Re: VI. Research

Post by Trilarion » Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:11 pm

Yes, that was the idea how I had it in mind. A university with restricted capacity that does the research, either with researchers or just with investing money (abstracting the researchers) and waiting.

Okay, you convinced me, let's not make too many technologies in the beginning.

Regarding branches: Do you remember that Imperialism 2 had them too iirc. You needed certain techs to research other techs and they were grouped into certain categories. I just think that specialising on militaric techs or industrial techs or other techs is an attractive strategic element. It's not too difficult for the player to manage. In the simplest version I just imagine three horizontal lines with techs where you can research them one by another arbitrarily within the three lines.

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