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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#256
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:26 pm
Flatfingers wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:55 am
  • Open, Unbounded: Every advance is valuable; eventually some character can destroy the universe.
that assumes that nobody else does any research as well, though.

when everyone's overpowered nobody is.
It also assumes that tech levels don't drop.
Which I built into my ideas on things. I want people to destroy the tech backbone of their competition, giving organic war goals without anything artificial prompting them.

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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#258
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:01 pm
also, that. but even without tech drops everyone does research and everyone in contact is at least in shouting distance from each other tech wise
Even if they are not, one set of people might have exceptionally rapid firing weapons, but their range might be abysmal, while another could have really long range, low damage weapons.

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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#260
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:15 pm
i'd consider that still "approximately equal" when the applied dps is roughly equal.

Problems would arise when one's antimissile guns are anothers main battleship cannons :V
Well that did happen in reality when the Mayans got wiped out. Bow and arrow tech doesn't do well against gunpowder. So it's not like it should never happen in a real developing game. Should it be dependent on situations? Yes, but let's keep it real and let technology develop naturally based on region and trade.

The research aspect of LT should be treated the exact same way historical generation is. Set up a system that permits rise and fall of technology along with trade and also take into account conflicts. Then let it run for 1000 in game years and see what happens. Are players going to be upset if they spawn in a weak nation which isn't even with the rest of the known world? Sure they are, but that doesn't mean that world gen or research are broken. Nor does the tech have to have some magic equivalent. The Native Americans were sure behind the tech curve of the rest of the world in the 1500s.

So with this in mind, what am I arguing? I want emergent everything: Technology, History, Research ect. I accept that the world isn't fair and that the game shouldn't have to play fair for the LT universe to be interesting and dynamic. If your people haven't been conquered by another nation yet then you are either the current big guy in the region or you have some sort of barrier which separates you from the rest of the world.
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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#261
Of course will isolated communities not have the same tech level as other communities.
But communities that are in contact with each other will stay at about the same tech level because of trade, theft, reverse engineering and so on.
BFett wrote: Well that did happen in reality when the Mayans got wiped out
We actually wiped them out with our imported diseases they had no defense against, but thats besides the point
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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#262
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:34 am
Of course will isolated communities not have the same tech level as other communities.
But communities that are in contact with each other will stay at about the same tech level because of trade, theft, reverse engineering and so on.
BFett wrote: Well that did happen in reality when the Mayans got wiped out
We actually wiped them out with our imported diseases they had no defense against, but thats besides the point
Yeah, when white people came to NZ, the Maori survived the diseases, stole our guns, and invented trench warfare.
WW1's stalemate is literally the fault of the NZ Land Wars, I mean we may have invented trench warfare later, but the Maori were the first (as far as I am aware) to use it against white people with guns.

So the Mayans would have followed suit, maybe not inventing trench warfare, but definitely stealing guns and then using them against the invading Europeans. If not for the diseases brought over.

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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#263
Flatfingers wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:55 am
I remain of the theory that it's a design error to include a research mechanic in a game that has no defined ending. My solution to the vertical progression problem is: don't do progression.

Play long enough, and one of three things must become true:

  • Closed: Technologies are capped at a reasonable maximum power. After that, the research mechanic is useless to the player.
  • Open, Unbounded: Every advance is valuable; eventually some character can destroy the universe.
  • Open, Bounded: Each advance in a field is less powerful; eventually research becomes pointless.

I don't want this to be true; I'm persuaded that it is true. But I might be wrong in this view that research progression eventually must become either overpowered or irrelevant in an non-ending game. So I'm open to friendly thoughts on where this line of reasoning might be mistaken, and on how research might be designed to avoid either of these fates.



That said, if research does get included in LT anyway, there's another way to think about how the AI might go sub-optimal, and that's over time.

A good AI will have a long-term/global goal, for which researching various technologies is one component in a top-level project. This AI will accept research paths that are not great individually as long as the odds are good that they'll lead in the shortest time to the overall desired research goal(s).

An OK AI will have a medium-term/regional goal, and will try to go in a straight line for a target technology even if that winds up missing out on other techs and is less than advantageous over the long term.

And a poor AI will have no goal beyond the immediate and local, and will go for whatever research seems to deliver the most value for the AI's current problem.

Flat, I think you're partially right in your 3 situations. However, "Play for a long enough time" can be stretched out to "highly unlikely to ever be encountered" if you vary the rate of advancement and loss of technology as per my previous posts. My Eras of Advancement and Eras of Stagnation mean that at some times research is useless while at other times it's an arms race. That each area of technology can have different period intervals for those cycles means that at any given point some areas of research are far more fruitful than others, but some time down the line those same areas just aren't worth the time.

For a lot of things you're just increasing numbers on dps and output and such, so some people are on an even playing field while others are totally outgunned, c'est la vie. But Like corn said, plenty of people will be on a similar enough playing field that no one player can utterly dominate all others without cheating, even if they can utterly dominate some.

What's most important is that it feels like real and unbounded advancement, even if at the largest scales, it's just different players with tech stats moving up and down on an enormous or infinite range of arbitrary values. If you play a universe for a dozen hours, you shouldn't even really notice a change in advancement rates unless you're heavily playing the research game and are also paying close attention. If you play for 50-100, you'd probably notice a few things are progressing faster or slower than when you started, but can chalk it up to natural fluctuations. If you play 200-500 hours in a single universe, yes, you'll probably notice a couple cycles of research in different areas, that maybe laser weapons made a lot of headway in your early game, then slowed to a crawl and became less popular as ballistics were making decent headway and eventually outperformed lasers in most instances... only for ballistic advancement to eventually slow down and lasers to pick back up and once again dominate. Such a situation means that while yes, all numbers slowly climb to infinity, one area of technology can dominate the local scene for a time, but never always, and it gives all researchers an edge at one point or another and forces a continuous change of tactics and strategies to always stay on top.

If you play more than 500 hours in a single universe, which I don't think will be too common for most players, they will probably begin to understand that research in different areas happens in long cycles, but that it's hard to predict at which point, which area is best to research, or for the more economically minded players, which research labs are the best to invest in. :geek: that becomes in itself a sort of meta aspect of the game.


As for your idea about AI going sub-optimal, I think it could be accomplished by having AI which establish a "Desired stats" for particular areas of research, and a "Time & percentage advancement till course change"
Meaning that say an AI wants to increase their Fire rate by 35%, they give themselves a Time to % ratio, where if they haven't improved their fire rate by at least 15% in 6 hours of play, they change the research goal, if they have gotten that far, they continue to try and make progress towards that goal until their research fails to meet the ratio or they achieve their goal. Good AI can have multiple goals and prudent time to % ratios, while Bad AI stubbornly stick to 1 or 2 research goals and give themselves far too long a time to % ratio (Say 20 hours to achieve 15% better fire rate), aka stubbornness. And it's entirely possible for even "Good" AI to be more and less stubborn with different research goals... in which case stubbornness and perseverance are just different ways of looking at the same thing. ;)

Want to make the AI really smart, have them analyze the current tech field and choose a research goal that would give them the biggest advantage were they to get there first. Cue the arms race
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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#264
All fair points, Hyperion, and they tell me it's probably time to be more specific about some assumptions I realize I'm making.

1. Game vs. Sim: I'm assuming that Josh, when confronted by the inevitable choices between "is it fun?" and "is it similar to how our real world world (plausibly extended to science fiction)?" Josh will -- like virtually all game developers -- opt for "fun."

Where research is concerned, while there might be boom/bust cycles for particular techs, and/or for research generally (ideas that I quite like, personally), those feel more like simulationist features to me, where the fun is supposed to emerge indirectly from the interactions among cycles. But most LT players (probably excluding this bunch, but we're almost certainly not going to be representative) aren't even going to notice cycles; the only thing they'll care about is being able to maximize research results as quickly as possible -- i.e., pure mechanical gameplay.

I wouldn't be surprised if Josh & Co. seek a balance of some kind between these two flavors of fun. But I also won't be surprised if research winds up being implemented in a way that advantages mechanical fun: it delivers pleasurable hits of advancement on a variable-ratio reward schedule through some calculation whether that calculation has any kind of real-world simulationist basis to it or not.

2. Thinking back on it, I think I recall Josh saying that research would be a late-game feature. So that, I think, affects the three different playing-time scenarios you described.

3. The alternative I think is being suggested to the three outcomes I described is "OK, just make research results multi-valued, and always balance benefits with penalties." That way technological power due to research stays at a sort of steady-state level. (Please correct me if I'm getting that wrong.)

If correct, is that something most LT players will find fun, where research on average does not deliver progress but only variation, where increased strength in one area is always compensated for by weakening the techs in some other field? Or will this be perceived as an obvious hack to avoid research discoveries becoming either too weak or too strong over time?



Ultimately, after reading carefully and thinking some, I'm not sure I've yet heard a direct counter to the list of outcomes I described being the only possible outcomes.

Having to play for hundreds of hours to begin to perceive variation in research achievement rates doesn't address the point of the actual gameplay value of a research discovery -- it's this value that I'm saying must either be capped, or must be decreased to avoid techs becoming overpowered, or are left to grow at a linear rate leading to some character's faction eventually becoming uber-powerful. In the first two cases, research becomes an irrelevant gameplay system; in the third, it becomes a game-ender. And the combination of all these outcomes means it's appropriate to ask: does it make sense to design and implement a mechanic that must have one of these outcomes? Will it be perceived as fun?

I lean toward "no," because I'm thinking that a reward feature that must either decline to irrelevancy or grow to be overpowering -- in other words, a gameplay mechanic whose play value will reach an endpoint -- cannot be a good fit for an open-ended game that can in theory be played forever. I'm thinking this is an inherent mismatch of features. And tweaking research to try to make it never end (so that it matches the rest of the gameplay) merely dooms it to static uninterestingness.

Again, I'm not saying any of this out of some preconceived and dogmatic dislike of research or tech trees. I like tech trees! I think it's a great part of the fun of 4X games.

BUT... 4X games are designed to end. So research can work in them.

LT, if it's still as described, is designed so that it doesn't have to end. That guarantees that for some non-zero number of players, they'll still be playing a universe long after research results have had to be capped or divided into meaninglessness, or that research results will eventually accumulate to a game-ending level of power for some character in the game.

That's why I ask: if a feature's going to end a game that's not supposed to end, or will become irrelevant, why implement it at all? Aren't there many other features with more long-lasting value that could be included instead?
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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#265
You bring up a lot of interesting ideas Flat. I'll hit on this overall and then more specifically later.

I think research needs to be unbounded so that there is no definite beginning or end to it. The reason for this is because of history generation when LT begins. I am of the opinion that in order for a truly living universe to exist with all of the complexities that LT promises, it would make sense that research exists along side that generation.

Perhaps research could be capped in a natural sense where the adaptation of one faction to another actually causes a loss of technology specialization in specific areas. So if a faction doesn't continue research in particular areas it slowly loses the research over time. This would be caused by data being destroyed in battles and stolen by hostile factions.

Perhaps this wouldn't work though because it may make old battle sites less interesting in terms of salvageable equipment. Or maybe not, I'm not sure.


There has to be a solution to the question of research in LT and how it works out. I am willing to bet that we can find such a solution if one exists.
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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#266
in terms of bound/unbound:

numbers which only serve to be compared to other numbers (damage, hp, power generation/needs, mass, thrust, cargo capacity, resource costs, mining amounts) can rise pretty much unbounded (limited by how the actual numbers are handled by the engine).
As they cant break anything as they can be counterbalanced by the other numericals rising as well.
When both damage and hp rise by 10% the situation is the same as before the change.

The other class of variables, the ones with "physical" effects (ship speed, weapon range, scanner range, construction speed, etc) have to stay below some upper bound.
As they have some hard gameplay and even engine breaking features if driven up without limits.
(Unlimited speed ships, unlimited range weaponry etc)
Those factors should be balanced to some average value and can move with asymptotic difficulty towards an upper/lower bound.
Because they are counteracted by other factors rising in conjunction with them.
(Higher mass and higher thrust, higher power needs/supplies)
There can exist local variations on the values, but those are temporary in general until some other mostly positive development pushes them back towards the average.

You can build extra fast ships, but not infinitely fast.
And your ship will be generally weaker in other respects than the ones from other factions at the same tech level.


On the "what keeps giant factions from 'specialising' in everything":

We could make "vertical" research a hard limited resource, bound to environmental objecs and generated at a limited rate?
Maybe even generally available for everyone (friendly) within an area.
say the local planetary/civilian universities produce new insights in the public view and everyone can use them to their own capabilities.
The per faction limitations would then be "research" (engineering) facilities which would be used to produce their "personal interpretations" of the currently available theoretical knowledge.
That would be the horizontal/specialisation research which produces the actual equipment which is private and not shared.
A faction with more engineering facilities can apply new theories faster to produce equipment and can tune it faster to their own needs.
They can fill more niches before the next progression tick than smaller factions, but cant get much "better" equipment than them.
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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#267
1. Game vs. Sim: I'm assuming that Josh, when confronted by the inevitable choices between "is it fun?" and "is it similar to how our real world world (plausibly extended to science fiction)?" Josh will -- like virtually all game developers -- opt for "fun."

Where research is concerned, while there might be boom/bust cycles for particular techs, and/or for research generally (ideas that I quite like, personally), those feel more like simulationist features to me, where the fun is supposed to emerge indirectly from the interactions among cycles. But most LT players (probably excluding this bunch, but we're almost certainly not going to be representative) aren't even going to notice cycles; the only thing they'll care about is being able to maximize research results as quickly as possible -- i.e., pure mechanical gameplay.

I wouldn't be surprised if Josh & Co. seek a balance of some kind between these two flavors of fun. But I also won't be surprised if research winds up being implemented in a way that advantages mechanical fun: it delivers pleasurable hits of advancement on a variable-ratio reward schedule through some calculation whether that calculation has any kind of real-world simulationist basis to it or not.
Well I agree that Josh and co will try to have some sort of balance between game & simulation, I think it's safe to say that Josh leans far more towards the simulationist side of the spectrum. Why else would he have created a "real" market system? and consider player-npc parity paramount? Josh has always said that LT is for him, LT is all about being his dream game. It's not for the mass market, that if they like it, great, if not, that's fine too. While I think that it will require careful balancing and lots of testing, I think at the end of the day, if Josh can make simulationist research fun, he will make research simulationist regardless of how many or how few people like it, so long as HE likes it.


2. Thinking back on it, I think I recall Josh saying that research would be a late-game feature. So that, I think, affects the three different playing-time scenarios you described.
I don't think and never have thought LT lends itself to the traditional early-middle-late game aspects of 4x games. Players can switch from being emperor to being a miner on a whim, from being a fighter to being a commodities trader on a whim. If research can be given the depth of prospecting or dogfights, then I don't see why it would necessarily come too much later than anything else. Granted, research on a large scale would require large scale resources, but what prevents some tiny little houseboat from also having a little lab. It doesn't do a lot of research and almost certainly won't be making any world changing breakthroughs, but it might... But it would at the very least be a way for the houseboat owner to tinker with their equipment in a different way.
3. The alternative I think is being suggested to the three outcomes I described is "OK, just make research results multi-valued, and always balance benefits with penalties." That way technological power due to research stays at a sort of steady-state level. (Please correct me if I'm getting that wrong.)

If correct, is that something most LT players will find fun, where research on average does not deliver progress but only variation, where increased strength in one area is always compensated for by weakening the techs in some other field? Or will this be perceived as an obvious hack to avoid research discoveries becoming either too weak or too strong over time?
That's not what I was suggesting at least. Research in different areas, in different fields varies in the rate of absolute advancement, while the variation of relative strength of researchable traits within that field never change and can always be traded off in that balance of cost/benefit. The absolute strength of any particular field ie. Lasers will advance at a varying rate over time, but at any given time, research can divide those points any way one likes. At some points in time, Lasers will be stronger in absolute terms than ballistics, other times they will be weaker. Not because lasers were nerfed. Plenty of lasers will still outcompete ballistics significantly in certain instances, but those will be specialized lasers vs balanced ballistics. Ballistics just have a faster absolute advancement rate than lasers at the moment. Nothing is being weakened in absolute terms (usually), things are just increasing in strength at a slower rate than something else for the time being.

Is that fun? Dunno, we'll have to test it.
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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#268
Good suggestions, Cornflakes. Thanks.
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:36 pm
In terms of bound/unbound:
numbers which only serve to be compared to other numbers (damage, hp, power generation/needs, mass, thrust, cargo capacity, resource costs, mining amounts) can rise pretty much unbounded (limited by how the actual numbers are handled by the engine).
As they cant break anything as they can be counterbalanced by the other numericals rising as well.
When both damage and hp rise by 10% the situation is the same as before the change.
I think this works over the short term. But what does the let the game world look like after a few hundred hours of play?

My concern is that "unbounded" = "arms race," and one or two factions will take a commanding lead over all other factions. Once they've achieved a major advantage -- because unbounded research permits it -- they will use this advantage to prevent all other factions from growing, either by restricting growth or outright conquest.

That's one of the "game over" states that I think unbounded research enables. But if I understand the intent of LT, a design feature that allows a game over state should not be permitted.
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:36 pm
The other class of variables, the ones with "physical" effects (ship speed, weapon range, scanner range, construction speed, etc) have to stay below some upper bound.
As they have some hard gameplay and even engine breaking features if driven up without limits.
(Unlimited speed ships, unlimited range weaponry etc)
Those factors should be balanced to some average value and can move with asymptotic difficulty towards an upper/lower bound.
Because they are counteracted by other factors rising in conjunction with them.
(Higher mass and higher thrust, higher power needs/supplies)
There can exist local variations on the values, but those are temporary in general until some other mostly positive development pushes them back towards the average.

You can build extra fast ships, but not infinitely fast.
And your ship will be generally weaker in other respects than the ones from other factions at the same tech level.
This is also a reasonable extrapolation. But the moment that research into these features is designed to be bounded, they are subject to the long-term consequence of being bounded: irrelevancy.

Eventually a bound, whether absolute (a value cap) or asymptotic (a rate cap), must end the utility of a research feature. Eventually it can't increase meaningfully anymore. And when that happens, that feature no longer delivers any gameplay value.

So why implement it? This is the heart of my argument that research progression and unbounded play are incompatible.

Having said this, there might be a good argument to be made that enough gameplay value can be delivered before a research feature cap is hit that it becomes worth implementing. I'm open to a description of how that might work.

But I will still ask: what happens afterwards? How long might someone want to keep playing LT after they've hit the hard or practical research caps? If the answer is "many hours," then I think that moves the needle closer to "not worth implementing" territory. But it does become a more subjective question at that point.
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:36 pm
On the "what keeps giant factions from 'specialising' in everything":

We could make "vertical" research a hard limited resource, bound to environmental objecs and generated at a limited rate?
Maybe even generally available for everyone (friendly) within an area.
say the local planetary/civilian universities produce new insights in the public view and everyone can use them to their own capabilities.
The per faction limitations would then be "research" (engineering) facilities which would be used to produce their "personal interpretations" of the currently available theoretical knowledge.
That would be the horizontal/specialisation research which produces the actual equipment which is private and not shared.
A faction with more engineering facilities can apply new theories faster to produce equipment and can tune it faster to their own needs.
They can fill more niches before the next progression tick than smaller factions, but cant get much "better" equipment than them.
This is interesting. It's essentially still a rate-of-improvement cap, but the cap is given an in-game explanation rather than just being an arbitrary magic number.

I suspect that, eventually, as the rate of new insights declines (in order to restrict the rate of research feature improvement), players will just blame how colonies are designed rather than how research is designed. Whatever the reason, they'll want research to keep letting them make progress as long as the game continues.

But I might be wrong about that, and giving the rate cap an in-game justification would be enough to make the decline in research value tolerable to most players.
Hyperion wrote:
Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:05 am
Well I agree that Josh and co will try to have some sort of balance between game & simulation, I think it's safe to say that Josh leans far more towards the simulationist side of the spectrum. Why else would he have created a "real" market system? and consider player-npc parity paramount? Josh has always said that LT is for him, LT is all about being his dream game. It's not for the mass market, that if they like it, great, if not, that's fine too. While I think that it will require careful balancing and lots of testing, I think at the end of the day, if Josh can make simulationist research fun, he will make research simulationist regardless of how many or how few people like it, so long as HE likes it.
Possibly. Josh has also said (as Victor will attest) that he sort of thinks of LT as Freelancer 2.0. To the extent that this is accurate, Freelancer was very definitely a game first and a sim second.

This is why I think Josh may be discovering, once the architectural stuff is "done," that finding the fun in LT as a game (beyond just simulating things) is an even more difficult task than everything that has come before it. If so, it shouldn't be surprising if many decisions are made that prioritize game-fun over sim-fun. That's just how it goes.
Hyperion wrote:
Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:05 am
2. Thinking back on it, I think I recall Josh saying that research would be a late-game feature. So that, I think, affects the three different playing-time scenarios you described.
I don't think and never have thought LT lends itself to the traditional early-middle-late game aspects of 4x games. Players can switch from being emperor to being a miner on a whim, from being a fighter to being a commodities trader on a whim. If research can be given the depth of prospecting or dogfights, then I don't see why it would necessarily come too much later than anything else. Granted, research on a large scale would require large scale resources, but what prevents some tiny little houseboat from also having a little lab. It doesn't do a lot of research and almost certainly won't be making any world changing breakthroughs, but it might... But it would at the very least be a way for the houseboat owner to tinker with their equipment in a different way.
I don't disagree with this. If forced to include research in an open-ended game, I'd also make the cost of doing research such that it's a valid early-game feature (if limited).

But that's me; it's not what (my memory claims) Josh actually said. And his word is law for LT.
Hyperion wrote:
Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:05 am
3. The alternative I think is being suggested to the three outcomes I described is "OK, just make research results multi-valued, and always balance benefits with penalties." That way technological power due to research stays at a sort of steady-state level. (Please correct me if I'm getting that wrong.)

If correct, is that something most LT players will find fun, where research on average does not deliver progress but only variation, where increased strength in one area is always compensated for by weakening the techs in some other field? Or will this be perceived as an obvious hack to avoid research discoveries becoming either too weak or too strong over time?
That's not what I was suggesting at least. Research in different areas, in different fields varies in the rate of absolute advancement, while the variation of relative strength of researchable traits within that field never change and can always be traded off in that balance of cost/benefit. The absolute strength of any particular field ie. Lasers will advance at a varying rate over time, but at any given time, research can divide those points any way one likes. At some points in time, Lasers will be stronger in absolute terms than ballistics, other times they will be weaker. Not because lasers were nerfed. Plenty of lasers will still outcompete ballistics significantly in certain instances, but those will be specialized lasers vs balanced ballistics. Ballistics just have a faster absolute advancement rate than lasers at the moment. Nothing is being weakened in absolute terms (usually), things are just increasing in strength at a slower rate than something else for the time being.

Is that fun? Dunno, we'll have to test it.
Hmm. I may be entering my dotage, but I'm not seeing how this isn't another way of saying "unbounded research." In which case, all my prior whatabouts apply.

Maybe I need a chart? Some kind of visual aid that shows how research gameplay value can remain constant throughout an open-ended game?
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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#269
Flatfingers wrote:
Sat Jul 15, 2017 6:22 pm
Good suggestions, Cornflakes. Thanks.
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:36 pm
In terms of bound/unbound:
numbers which only serve to be compared to other numbers (damage, hp, power generation/needs, mass, thrust, cargo capacity, resource costs, mining amounts) can rise pretty much unbounded (limited by how the actual numbers are handled by the engine).
As they cant break anything as they can be counterbalanced by the other numericals rising as well.
When both damage and hp rise by 10% the situation is the same as before the change.
I think this works over the short term. But what does the let the game world look like after a few hundred hours of play?

My concern is that "unbounded" = "arms race," and one or two factions will take a commanding lead over all other factions. Once they've achieved a major advantage -- because unbounded research permits it -- they will use this advantage to prevent all other factions from growing, either by restricting growth or outright conquest.

That's one of the "game over" states that I think unbounded research enables. But if I understand the intent of LT, a design feature that allows a game over state should not be permitted.
If Limit Theory is properly made there should be ways to damage any massive faction which has a superior technology. The bigger a faction is the more "legs" it needs to support it.

So, let's assume a faction has risen to the top of the heap though well timed shield research which is now to the point where it's way over powered and other factions can't do any harm to any ship larger than the smallest mining craft. This sounds really grim right? Except that someone has to manufacture those shield generators. Oh, and look, there's a special (rare) ore which is required in the manufacturing process. Maybe we can buy out the other fields which contain this ore and cut off their supply. Maybe we can setup a hit and run to destroy miner ships as they are on their way to deliver the ore. Maybe we can hit the factories which are producing the shields. Since they've been spending so much effort in the shield research and everyone hates them, perhaps we can cut off trade and slow down their military production speed.

LT is not a two dimensional game where an advanced race can't be destroyed with some careful planning. It just takes the player to think outside the box and to understand the systems which hold the LT universe together.
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Re: Squaring the "Vertical Progression" Circle (maybe)

#270
Flatfingers wrote:
Sat Jul 15, 2017 6:22 pm
My concern is that "unbounded" = "arms race," and one or two factions will take a commanding lead over all other factions. Once they've achieved a major advantage -- because unbounded research permits it -- they will use this advantage to prevent all other factions from growing, either by restricting growth or outright conquest.
because theres no step between "the same as everyone else" and "completely overpowered" :P
there is a transitional period where they have an advantage but arent out of reach. and when they are malevolent in nature they will have many enemies that will gang up on them during that phase and will at least slow them down a lot and aquire a chunk of their tech in doing so by theft, reverse engineering and their own research efforts.

and even when theres such a "game over" state, you can still try to incite a war between the top dogs, steal their stuff or simply search for greener pastures outside their influence.
Flatfingers wrote: This is also a reasonable extrapolation. But the moment that research into these features is designed to be bounded, they are subject to the long-term consequence of being bounded: irrelevancy.

Eventually a bound, whether absolute (a value cap) or asymptotic (a rate cap), must end the utility of a research feature. Eventually it can't increase meaningfully anymore. And when that happens, that feature no longer delivers any gameplay value.
except that there are still the numeric increasing values (damage, power output, blah) that give advancements and pull down the physical values.
(research in damage increases reduce the range of the weapon).
numerical increase research has always value because it gives you stronger equipment (more damage, more power, more thrust, more shield HP).
but that either removes your advantage or your parity in the "physical" values so you have to keep researching those as well to keep them where you want them
Flatfingers wrote: I suspect that, eventually, as the rate of new insights declines (in order to restrict the rate of research feature improvement), players will just blame how colonies are designed rather than how research is designed. Whatever the reason, they'll want research to keep letting them make progress as long as the game continues.

But I might be wrong about that, and giving the rate cap an in-game justification would be enough to make the decline in research value tolerable to most players.
where does a cap that prevents single factions from runaway development on its own reduce the research value over time?
this cap doesnt reduce research speed over time or research advancement.
it simply keeps all factions in one area at about the same vertical level.
and the faction's research facilities simply define how fast the faction can develop new specialised equipment on that level.
a bigger faction can fill the niches faster / fill more niches before the next "global tick" of vertical advancement.

but as global ticks are always at the same rate the value of research doesnt decline over macroscopic time scales.
it may decreases temporarily when you reach your desired breadth of research between the vertical ticks and you dont have anything to do until the next tick.

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