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Planet Production 50% Balance

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 18:43 UTC
by BBB
The current game has planet production rate at 50%, and I was curious about what the reasoning is behind that from a game balance perspective.

Based on my calcs a colonist has a maximum value of approximately 9 credits based on credit creation rate:

1 colonist * (0.9 production rate) * (1/400 credits/colonist) = 0.0025 credits/tick.

0.0025 credits/tick / (0.00025 planet production rate) = 9 credits.

Since populating a planet costs 5 credits this means that you generate a value of 4 credits per hold unit per trade route run.

Just trading goods/ore generates 23 credits per hold unit, therefore populating planets have significantly less value than simply trading on a per turn basis. The deficit is even more pronounced when considering the sunk costs of fighters/torps/base production/additional energy production/sector defenses/etc.

So, what is the purpose of creating planet/colonists in this game mode, other than to secure trade ports, and to have a single homeworld to gain access to the planetary interest rate for your main bank? I've never really played late game so there may be something I'm not considering, but based on the current settings it feels like planetary production is a waste of time, which would just force players to go the trading route. It also feels like by the time you have enough credits to upgrade to the point that you could actually take planets they would no longer really be worth taking.

By comparison, if the 1 credit/67 colonist rate is used with the same calculation it actually generates more value than trading (48 credits / 4 turns - sunk costs). The tradeoff is that the assets are not liquid and can't be used for upgrades, and then have to be defended. This would seem to allow multiple potential strategies rather than just having a single optimal one.

As mentioned above I have never really played into the late game, so fully admit that there may be something I haven't considered. Just wanted to ask the question though to try to understand what the thinking is.


Re: Planet Production 50% Balance

Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 05:39 UTC
by TheMightyDude
It was basically to slow the game down, people was gaining credits way to fast especially for a 3 month game, I was planning for the game to be run for a long time length than we currently are.
I tried different ways to slow stuff down all of them broken something in the game, but reducing interest by half worked and didn't break anything.

Also scores, credits and item count etc are already allowing for way too high of a number and this should of been dealt with years ago, sadly this wasn't and players have got use to seeing huge numbers which then moan when they are no longer able to reach.

TBH I am aiming for a game that "shouldn't need to be reset and for it to be persistent in the fact its always running and by reducing values will help this along with a much larger universe, also not needing to be reset will allow for late comers join the game.

I am in my spare time and when I am well enough to do so working on a new PC Desktop game (might also add later on a WebGL version so that it can be played in a browser) I have several posts on the forums talking about it, sadly loads of those ideas might not make it into the game due to I need to be realistic here some of those ideas are a bit above me, but maybe over time they will get added.

Re: Planet Production 50% Balance

Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 15:44 UTC
by thekabal
BBB wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 18:43 UTC
The current game has planet production rate at 50%, and I was curious about what the reasoning is behind that from a game balance perspective.
As TMD mentioned, most of the "economy" settings are literally without any design consideration. They were made up numbers, meant to at least be functional, and could be adjusted aggressively in time as needed - but we never did.

There are many, many, many ways in which the BNT economy is literally broken. The numbers get too large (as TMD mentioned), and that seems like it would be no big deal - yet it's a very serious problem in the game. It breaks the ability for the game to run for long periods of time, breaks the scheduler, and gets players used to an unreasonable expectation: That numbers should be that large. They really, really should not. We shouldn't use exponential growth for *ANYTHING*. pow() is the most dangerous code in the game, and it's got dozens of calls.

The economy 'scoring' system has been modified over the years and it is much more accurate now than it used to be. Plenty of old-school players would "hide" value in planets and some categories to keep their score effectively "low", and then would shift/change those over to get bigger Ibank loans. Most of that has improved, but it was less a case of active design of the economy, and more trying to fix obvious exploits with simple fixes.

The honest truth is that the entire BNT economy really needs a full make-over. We'd need to find a very effective player, and document/chart out when they make which upgrades/levels. Then remove the values and focus on the time it takes to get those specific upgrades, and regear the costs so that the upgrades "happen" (become possible) at similar times, but have different impact/meaning. (World of) Warcraft does similar, with their level/item squishes over the years reducing the specific meaning of a given upgrade, but focusing more and more on ensuring that after X hours, you hit Y upgrade, so you get a good dopamine hit from the upgrade.

I'd say we'd want to eliminate POW() entirely, reduce interest, reduce the snowball'ing effect of early game loans, and make the equations more consistent.

Then for my fork, The Kabal Invasion, we'll also take other changes. For example, in BNT, owning 1 or 10 planets is the same: It's just more numbers. In TKI, each planet is separate so the defense levels are independently tracked - making tiny planets more common, and making managing multiple planets more costly (which in turn reduces the economy as well).

But yes, you are correct: The economy in BNT is NOT well designed.

Re: Planet Production 50% Balance

Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 18:00 UTC
by BBB
Thank you for the replies! I can only imagine that it's an extremely difficult challenge to try to manage exponential growth in a way which is effectively fair with all of the other in-game mechanics but also doesn't overly punish late joiners and creates a game which is "fun", and that these interests are very likely to compete with each other.

Because I've never played mega-lategame I'm not sure whether the trade degeneration will start to make trading less valuable per turn, however I would expect that this would just end up ultimately pushing players towards banking. My gut feeling would be that a production rate of 1 credit/150 colonists would be the best from a balance of strategies perspective. Since this provides a similar per-turn ROI I would assume that this wouldn't snowball any more than early players who focus on trading/banking, however as I'm still new I admit I don't have any experience/empirical evidence for that fact.

I agree that the best solutions are probably from making modifications/additions to core game mechanics, which really can't be done within this existing framework. I eagerly await future game updates :)