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

Flatfingers wrote: Is there something I've missed on the LT IRC channel that has changed how (I thought) research was described in previous video updates? My recollection is that you first discover a base technology, e.g., Laser. Then you can research modifiers (visually clustered around the base tech on the node display for research) that provide at least one benefit such as +20% Armor Damage and at least one drawback such as -15% Rate of Fire.


Or did the design for research change to a find-the-pixel adventure game and I missed that announcement? :o
i think you misunderstood (or at least understood it differently than me)

yes, you get some "base tech"
for example a laser but from then you dont research independent modifiers you tuck on as you see fit but you get for every modifier tech a blueprint of the base tech with the modifier already applied
so you dont research the laser and the damage increase independently but "in one go".

so you dont get the laser + damage modifier independently and plug and play but instead get a laser with the modifier directly applied

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

As I've understood it, if you research down a branch you like you get "more of the same".

So say the modification is +10 dam -10 range, you might get +20 dam -20 range on the next iteration.

Josh also said that there'd be some modifications that were just good, so that over time you could decrease your negatives.

Depending on how quickly each iteration came, or how long you ran the sim for, under those conditions you'd expect to see the overall tech level raise over time.

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

Hmm again. I'm liking this less than slottable modifiers, but let's see if I'm missing something (as is frequently the case).

So let's say I research a base tech of Lasers.

I then research a modifier, which comes up +5% Damage and +5% mass.

I research another modifier off of the base tech. This one comes up +5% Damage and -5% Rate of Fire.

I research another modifier off of the base tech. This one comes up +5% Rate of Fire and -5% Accuracy.

(and so on)

I decide I like the +5% Rate of Fire and -5% Accuracy version of Lasers. So I research off of that node and get +10% Rate of Fire and -10% Accuracy.

I'm still liking that tradeoff. I research off of that modifier node and get +15% Rate of Fire and -15% Accuracy.

Hmm. I think I see where this is going. This... doesn't seem all that interesting, honestly. By modding a mod, I can (normally) only get more good and more bad of the specific variants I've already got?

Either I'm missing some form of awesomeness of the "keep modding the same mod" format (entirely possible), or the notion of being able to research modifiers that are related to but separate from the base tech, and then stack some limited number of them onto that base tech to maximize multiple positive effects and minimize multiple negative effects -- but only up to a point because of the mod limit -- really is as tasty as it seems to me.

In that direction lies being able to construct Lasers with +15% Damage, +10% Rate of FIre, +5% Range, -15% Accuracy, and +20% Mass, as well as many other combinations.

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

Behemoth wrote:1. Research tech node
2. Add a new modifier to tech.
3. Repeat.

From +5% Damage, -5% Accuracy, it could evolve to +10% D, -5% A, +5% Mass (+5% D, +5% Mass applied), or +5% D, -5% RoF (+5% A, -5% RoF applied) etc.
Thanks, Behemoth. OK, let's see how I can inadvertently fail to understand this version. ;)

Is it still the case that when your research of a new modifier node is complete, your discovery will consist of (at least) one positive effect and one negative effect?

If that's the case, then this makes it sound like typical gameplay will be:

1. research base tech node
2. research modifier node off of base tech node
3. repeat step 2 until a mod node with a combo of positive and negative effects you like eventually comes up
4. research mod node off of the node from step 3
5. repeat step 4 until a mod news with an additional combo of positive and negative effects you like shows up
6. research mod node off of the node from step 5

This means that the research node map is going to look like a long stalk extending from each base node, with every node along the stalk surrounded by a large cluster of "failed" experiments and a single modifier node that becomes the starting point for the next section of the stalk.

That doesn't seem like balanced gameplay to me. Rather than one long sequence of branches dangling from each base tech node, balanced gameplay would IMO be represented visually by a graph that routinely shows two or more branches extended off of every modifier node out to a maximum distance from the base tech node of three or four steps. Such a graph would visually represent a greater amount of player choice -- multiple branches taken from each node -- than simply tediously repeating research off of a single mod node until the dice finally generate a new modifier combo that you like.

Does that latter gameplay, where most of your research discoveries will be dead ends (positive/negative effect combos that you don't want), really seem like it will be more fun for more players than the gameplay I've described, in which you have fewer wasted research attempts because the power to decide which mods to stack for a base technology is under your control?

I appreciate that the "socketing" feature I'm proposing would mean there's no value in researching mods of mods. You could get the stacking effects you want just by generating enough of the right mod nodes off of the base node.

Given the number of base techs likely to be included in Limit Theory, is having no mods of mods really a severe defect in fun? If so, what would be a way of allowing mods of mods that encourage multiple viable branchings off of each node?

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

Cornflakes_91 wrote:Flatfingers:
I think your bonus stacking at will makes it a bit too easy to build your dream equipment, but the completely random approach seems to be the opposite extreme of unfun.
Some kind of directed research combined with some limited random element.
So that you have limited but not perfect control over your research results
Well, Semi-Markov research trees would be perfect for that, right? Limited but not perfect control over the research process, which largely remains stochastic.

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

From Thymine's Semi-Markov Research Trees thread, he quoted Josh as saying that the intention for LT is that research be quite random.

Honestly, I'd prefer some way to obtain more control over experimentation as a form of active gameplay. Just sort of rolling the dice (at what sounds like an increasingly higher cost) seems -- how can I put this gently? -- sub-optimally entertaining. ;)

Still, to my knowledge that was the last official word on the subject. So I'm assuming "very random research results" is still the intention.

That being the case, fun in actually doing stuff with what you've researched would seem to have to come from how you apply the products of research.

Allowing players to slot modifiers into base technology objects (in some lore- and UI-appropriate way for LT) seems like a pretty reasonable solution to that active gameplay need. What are some alternatives?

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

Flatfingers wrote:From Thymine's Semi-Markov Research Trees thread, he quoted Josh as saying that the intention for LT is that research be quite random.

Honestly, I'd prefer some way to obtain more control over experimentation as a form of active gameplay. Just sort of rolling the dice (at what sounds like an increasingly higher cost) seems -- how can I put this gently? -- sub-optimally entertaining. ;)
Indeed. In EVE Online, interaction with the research/skill system could literally get to the stage where it's as minimal as clicking a button once a month. Terrible. :crazy:

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

I'm not sure I totally see how "slots" would work at present. However I have been mulling this over more.

Here are where I think we're at as regards our high-level wants from the system:
  • It should be at least somewhat interesting, and not an EVE-style "click, wait a month, profit" style thing.
  • It should be continuous, which is to say that there's still a reason to do research at any given time T of the game, be that 1 minute after the universe begins or 200 years later.
  • It should not create huge disparities between players simply based on time spent in the game.
That's a short list, when it comes down to it. I think that reveals how challenging it is to design a "please most of the people most of the time" system.

Mining and resource extraction is designed to be an "infinite, bounded" system. How can a similar thing be achieved for research?

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

A little bit of a tangent here: has anything been said on how many "base techs" we'll have, or how expansive the modifiers will be? If all I can get is lasers with +/- RoF, damage, and mass, the research (at least to me) will feel much less interesting and immersive as a system than if I can get many different variations on the laser, with different abilities. I've asked this question before, and got a pretty nice answer from Cornflakes (viewtopic.php?f=5&t=194&p=7525#p7444), but no real answer if it or anything remotely close to it will be implemented.

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


Been mulling this for a while.

I am not sure how new the following is. Really at least 90% of it is simply a different way of visualising the mechanics, and trying to keep in mind that it's ratios, not values, that matter.

Firstly, a representational style. This is just really to help me conceptualise what's going on, it's not intended to be an idea about representation in the game.

You can think about the positive and negative modifiers as all being lines. A standard "base tech" is a regular polygon. Visualising a modification as moving the vertices in or out gives you a representation of technological change that looks like this:
Pentagon Nodes 1.png
Pentagon Nodes 1.png (37.58 KiB) Viewed 799 times
Blue is the starting tech, Red is a modified version.

This can be anything - a missile, a ship, a material.

The important thing is that tech parity is maintained within that tech class at a given research level because as one node moves out another must move in. If we think about the distance from the centre to the node as RN, We get a value X that's the average of all Rs, and this value is the radius of the circle that represents the tech level.

As "vertical progression" happens, i.e. research for which benefits outweigh costs, this X value is what matters for balancing.

Now the real important balancing act is between damage-dealing research and damage-defending research. If we consider the game to understand what the regional tech level is, i.e. what the X value is for technology that they have access to, whether or not they've researched it themselves.

By referencing a universal constant, the value of researching X for dam and X for def can be scaled to prevent things exceeding a particular ratio.
Pentagon Nodes 3.png
Pentagon Nodes 3.png (45.39 KiB) Viewed 799 times
Research that is neither Dam nor Def doesn't really matter. It can keep scaling independently. It can still "rubber band" to keep competing factions competitive and to enable catching up.

One other thing about visualising things this way is that it makes it easier to see how modifiers can interact and combine. A modifier that simply moves the nodes around could be considered a mutation. Breeding different mutations together is a way of guiding tech research, i.e.:
Pentagon Nodes 2.png
Pentagon Nodes 2.png (53.76 KiB) Viewed 799 times
Parents are red and blue, child is purple.

I'm sure there could be other modifiers as well, to enable multiple blueprints to interact with each other. Same values as before, this is just a new way (for me, anyway) of thinking about and representing those.

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