I have a question concerning a peculiar behaviour of some players, the excessive building of SDSF. I remember from the "old days" that there is a certain purpose of doing so, but I don't know which it was. My father used to call those cheapest ships "slot machines". But I think that creating PBPs from recycling ships has been changed in some Host version so they didn't work any more. So why are people building lots of Small Freighters late after the ship limit? Surely at this time minerals and money are no problem, so better ships can be built! (At least if one had built enough "real" freighters for distribution.) Why waste those slots? I've seen players whose fleet contained 20% respectively 25% SDSF. This cannot be explained by a strategy to free a slot right before an important base reaches the queue. Please solve this mystery for me ;) Helmet.
any slot you fill is a slot your enemy can' have. and are you sure you don't get pbp's from recycling those? you get one pbp from each ship you recycle, which should include sdsfs. besides, they are built at only starbases which can afford anything better.
And as a result, we get a game fleet comprised of 150 freighters, 200 warships, and 150 empty hulls/pbp storage. Strategically, it's the right thing to do, but like prisoner's dilemma, if none of us did it, we'd have a better quality of game, with more action and a later ship limit. Some of the more boring hulls may actually get built, because it wouldn't take up one of your precious ship slots.
For these reasons the ship limit mechanics ought to get re-evaluated for the .NU scenario, but it's WAY too big of a change to look at for classic games. It's the entire reason Fed Refit is valuable at all.
There are more reasons to build sdsfs. Biggest reason is a ship you build is not a ship that the enemy builds... BUT.... if you recycle one of the sdfs you get 1 PBP. Many races can use this PBP to build a better ship at another base. EG the birds can build a swift from this 1 PBP... at a base with transwarp and heavy phasers.... So these sdfs from a base that only costs 900 MC can be used to build a good usefull swift at another base... If you need to sweep some mines, you could use 10 PBP to build a Dark Wing with 10 heavy phasers or you can build 10 swifties with a total of 20 heavy phasers... Those 10 swifties can then spread to 10 planets within enemy territory and intercept a freighter a lot easier, because the will even find planethoping ships a lot faster... you kill the freighter get 1 PBP can buiild a new swiftie and then you do not have to care if that ship that the freighter attacked will be hunted down or be killed by the planet or another ship.. You did your damage to the infrastructure of the enemy... Doing this with a DW is a lot riskier.... If the enemy gets to kill the DW in the process he will gain 5 PBP instead of 1... If the built sdfs stays an sdfs for the rest of the game, it is in many cases lost potential. They can usually be changed into something more usefull...
When thinking about a solution for stalling the building queue keep the game balance in mind. The current mechanism is an essential part for e.g. the Rebel strategy. The Rebel always builds a lot of bad equipped Falcons or SDSF before the ship limit. After the ship limit he's trying to never drop below 20 PBP. That means he can * build a 4 heavy phaser ship immidiatly at any place * super refit all his Falcons/Deep Space Scouts with HP and transwarp * save a lot of fuel when transporting clans by hyperjumping 1000 LJ but use the recycle/rebuild method for the way back * save a LOT of money because insted of raising techs Falcons deliver the hi-tech components everywhere
An alternative solution would be to grant PBP for destroying starbases in battle. This favours building real war ships with your PBP because then it is more likely that you regain the spent PGP while at the same time expanding your empire.
Good point! But just to be clear, you get 1 PBP for recycling 100 kts but you can build only 50 kts for one PBP (see link above). That should be where the additional SDSF fits in. But still that's no reason to keep 20 of them standing around, I mean you can only recycle one ship at a time... I'd better ask the players in question personally ...
Lord Helmet, for controlling the queue it's important to stay at/near 20 PBP and to be able to get above 20 PBP any time you wish. Think of 20 SDSF hanging around as a secret PBP account in Switzerland. These are your PBP 21-40 but nobody knows - not even the authorities (the host). Only you decide how many, when and where you want to spend them. An experienced player won't have all 20 SDSF at one starbase but distibuted. So he can recycle more than one per turn if needed.
Well, in one of my games, i am one of the slotfillers. I am lizard, the only real enemy is birds, i have an awesome firepower due to an old alliance with Empire(lots of Gorbies). I have absolutely no interest in letting the queue move. Empire is too busy to set up new gorbie bases, and i dont really want to send rexes to the frontline, and see them get singled out and destroyed by dws. So my main interest is that Birds doesnt build more dws.. So i use all the PBP i get to build hissers for even the worst of natives, and small freighters.
I play to win, so i will use all tricks available, if they are fair. But this trick is pretty annoying. Its annoying to play against, and not exactly an exiting task to perform anyway. The easy fix is not to stop rewarding PBP for recycling ships, as i would still want to build as many as i could, to stop the queue.
And this "easy" fix, would harm other races much much more.
I would be willing to enter a gentlemans agreement, and not use slotfillers, if everybody else agreed to, but a change of rules would be better. But how do you define a slotfiller ? sometimes you really need a small freighter, to transport money, is it slotfilling if you only move 100 mcs then ? Federation and lizard can use terraformers as slotfillers, but if the planet isnt 50 degrees, is it then terraforming ? Even if you made a rule, that said any ships doing nothing for x turns, are slotfillers, and will be removed, i would still benefit from building them and moving them around randomly ?
Of course, the big fix, is simply to remove the ship build limit. But it would have a dramatic impact on the balance of the game. I think that issue calls for a thread of its own.
Maybe the Priority Build queue should be targeted at high tech ships ? PBP price is mass/50*(10-hulltech) ? so a DW costs the usual price , while a tech one small freighters is now more expensive ? It would of course influence the races very differently, so the balance could be shifted randomly. For example, privateers doesnt really has any use of his tech 10 ships, and would have to pay way to much like this for meteors..
And you could still build slotfillers in the normal queue, by building lots of low tech bases everywhere. But that does come at a cost, and the real queue killer, is building small freighters from PBP.
The issue is not building slot fillers. sometimes you do need an sdsf or another small tech 1 ship. they have their uses. the issue is getting 1 pbp for recycling them.
now for some heretical statements :)
what i find amazing is how much attention is devoted to this issue. in my experience, if you play correctly, it is possible to be a great player without resorting to this at all.
yes, some people advocate watching the build queue closely, strategically placing bases ahead of the build queue, building sdsf and then waiting for just the right moment to recycle them, etc etc... fine, it's a legit tactic for very advanced and bored players.
I would argue however that this kind of extreme mental masturbation is simply unnecessary in 95% of all your games. the returns are not huge most of the time, and rarely are opponents so closely matched that that one ship makes such a huge difference in the outcome. perhaps it is the pirate in me speaking, as i don't get to build a huge new carrier with those points, but i also don't want to spend an extra 30 minutes per turn considering the implications of the queue. it is simply not that important a great majority of the time. perhaps in the emperor's games. in all my games, after keeping track of it for a while in the early games, not once did I ultimately really care where the build queue was. simply not worth it.
There is a way to capitalize on most of the benefits of queue control without actually doing any of the math.
Here is what I do, and any vgap hardliners are welcome to disagree with me, but it works well enough most of the time. This applies after the ship limit. before the ship limit, i stockpile sdsfs if i am building them.
1) every low tech base that can not build anything better gets to build a SDSF. all these bases have some random alphanumeric fcode.
2) next turn, if the build is successful, the SDSF is always recycled and a new SDSF is ordered at the starbase.
3) i don't want to actually build more SDSF's with my PBPs, so I always have 3 - 4 starbases set with pbX codes to build the stuff I actually want.
That's it. simple and best of all, no math or tracking required. if a freighter builds, great, i get a PBP next turn. if i have over 20 pbps, i'll build something i want that turn. sometimes i'll build something i want next turn anyway because the ship queue arrived at my base = always a pleasant surprise.
Vepr, try more challenging races than the Pirates in a NUniverse of droppers ;)
You say you don't care where the queue is but have some of your bases set to "pbX". Let assume some ships are destroyed and you have > 20 now. The regular queue advances to the base you have set 'pb1'. This base has best techs and all resources it needs for a hi-tech-MBR. But hey, it doesn't build because it has no building order. The ship building order you placed there was already executed with pb1. So instead of two hi-tech-MBRs you get one. And this didn't matter at all in your games? Really? What does that tell us about the commanders you defeated ...
In the game i mention, i build slotfillers to stop the queue. I dont recycle them. It wouldnt matter at all, if i got no PBP for recycling, i simply want to stop the queue, because the enemy can build bigger ships than me, and can single them out. Removing the PBP for recycling, would not make a difference.
And, i strongly disagree with your argument that it is not important to keep track of the queue. It is obviously a privateer players tactic. Im not afraid to consider myself a master of controlling the queue, so i probably shouldnt want it to become less complicated. But i do. It doesnt make much sense, its tedious work, and it gives me a headache to teach my allies to do it also. But its definately winning me games....
That's right Emork, most of the time it doesn't. but we play different races so our perspective is different. I am not saying that queue tracking does not have an effect, it does as in the situation you described. but the perfect occurence that you described where the base would have built anyway and wasted those pbps by building with them doesn't happen that often, even if it does, its only a few build points wasted on a meteor, and i am almost never in a situation where a single meteor will make or break me. my point is that it is simply not worth it to me to spend extra time during my turns, which can take a while as it is to do this calculation. if someone wrote an mod that kept track of the quild queue for you, then certainly I would use it, but as things stand now, its just not worth it to me.
If it is to you, great. To a player with large carriers, where each ship carries much more weights, sure. but i would argue that this should only be undertaken when you have a solid grasp of all the other basics of the game such as combat and economy which are much more important in the long run.
A pirate typically has plenty of meteors to get the job done, and by not doing the tracking saves 30 minutes from each turn.
I'm with Emork all the way. Playing the queue is tedious and difficult to understand. Consequently, there are many players who do not touch it. But consider that in my recent Carillon game, I began the game at 2% military on turn 33. By turn 80 I was over 20% with top military score - as the Birds! Some of the other players were building SDSFs as they should, I had virtually no help from allies, and my planets were as bad as you can imagine. My method - pbx codes for Swifties or SDSFs at SBs that just had a build in the regular queue, and Dark Wings in front of the queue. That way I never found myself in the situation Emork described, which results in you getting skipped. Over 40 turns after the ship limit, you could drop 20 builds that way. It is a huge difference.
I want a "military upkeep" model to replace the ship limit. It forces players to self limit their builds because they can not afford to keep so many ships in service. But that is an entirely different game.
As a borg I often have to chunnel 50,000 - 100,000 MC. SDSF are perfect.
As an Empire, I build a zillion SB for fighters. I build SDSF at many of these. These SB need to be kept supplied with Trit and Moly. The SDSF do this work (even with W1 engines).
As a Robot, the SDSF is my ONLY 1 PBP ship. They are great for money shuttling, as well as controlling the ship queue.
Fascist: 2 SDSF = 1 Nefarious. If I can get my SB to 6-1-1-1, I build Nefs.
Controlling the ship queu is necessary for victory.
I had a game where the Borg captured and cloned some Meteors. As the Empire, I had few minefields. He thrust deeply with a Meteor/Firecloud combo into an undefended sector and brought in reinforcements. I was able to save the best couple of planet/SB's by recycling a couple of SDSF and building a Gorbie at a crucial spot. The 2 best SB's were saved and the other 15 planets were easily rebuilt and the sector was able to contribute to victory.
(Danial Payne is right - Getting rid of the ship queue will make the game too unwieldy. The only good way to improve is via a maintenance cost.)
guys, i think we are all sort of in agreement but just don't realize it. I do agree that in certain very high level games/situations or if you are pressed for survival keeping track of the queue is important. i agree. my point is that this is simply not the case in most games, especially as a pirate. perhaps it is more important than I realized, but for new players, this is probably one of the much later skills to master. i will try to keep an eye on it more often and see if my game improves further.
daniel, i would ask you to please clarify what you did in your birds game. this is how i understand you plan, so please correct me if i am wrong. you build sdsf's with a base that has just built a ship in the regular queue, so it is not likely to build again. thus you use pbx codes and pbps to build sdsfs or swifties there. darkwings you build with the regular queue without using PBPs.. do you then recycle the SDSF's you just built to get that same pbp back? only to build another sdsf or swiftie with it? please elaborate. the typical queue farming that I use when i do use it is to use PBP's to build the ship i want where I want it, even if its big and expensive. SDSF's are build with the regular build queue on multiple SBs and then recycled to give pbps for the larger ships. anyway, please elaborate, since your plan seems backwards but obviously effective given the effect.
>>daniel, i would ask you to please clarify what you did in your birds game>>
Yes, you basically have it, but it is more than that. In the early turns after the ship limit, there are fewer starbases and even fewer capable of building meaningful capital ships. As you get more SBs online, it is silly to use a PBPs to build a SDSF, only to recycle it for another. Swift Hearts are a 1 for 1, so it is a great deal, but you need more than those to run an empire. That is when your PB builds expand into Bright Hearts and Resolutes. So it takes 2 - 4 PBPs to equal a "real" build. That is one very good use for your stockpile of SDSFs. You do not want to go above 21 PBPs if possible, so you keep yourself as close to 20 as you can so that you just recycle one to get a PBP build. This is a luxury that is only possible if you have enough Dark Wings queued up to replace the ones you lose in combat. So you need to be following the queue to get resources to the SBs due up soon at the expense of those that just passed. This is why dines said it is a Privateer tactic. They have a robust ability to get resources on location fast, and all MBRs are just 2 PBPs.
Also, when you recycle more than one ship you inevitably cause extra "free" builds in the normal queue. It moves the queue along at a slow, semi-predictable pace if you have a high percentage of SBs and have intelligence about when combat is going to happen. All the best players will be trying to predict combat and out-starbase the others to achieve this very situation. This is why in high end games, the normal queue creeps along at a snail's pace. There are lots of SBs and everyone is exerting control over it by slowing it down.
bane, and evading pursuers inside warp well is exploiting game mechanism also? I do not like the sound of "exploiting". Slot filling is a valid strategy and the main way how the carrier races keep their war machine going. You store all your pbp in sdsf and build smaller ships with them later where needed and if you mass recycle with your ally at the same turn, you control when the queue moves and how much, which can result in your benefit if your opponents "buffer" of good ships in front of the queue is not big enough. For me any strategy that _uses_ game mechanics and gives you advantage is valid and should be used if the real life time needed to execute it doesn't out-weight the benefits. Some might call it mental masturbation, I call it joining few enough games to play them properly.
Slot filling is tedious, that is true and imo it should be that small ships without fuel could be attacked with ships so there could be interesting counter-measures against that. Although most of the ships are built deep inside your territory. I would also suggest that every turn you receive a message which tells at what number the queue is at.
The slot filling also supports active offensive strategies against passive ones as you should gain more pbp by staying active (picking fights) and slot filling makes better use of them. Or can stop the defender from building ships.
Rushing the minefield limit was within the rules under TimHost. .NU scrapped it because most players (and common sense) called it an exploit. The old NUK trap used to work, but Tim eventually fixed it, because it didn't make a lot of sense. I call foul on incremental ID codes because there's a lot of free information and it affects gameplay in a ton of cheap ways (mentioned in another thread). And it's NOT Classic mechanics; as much as people see tactics available in the the .NU rules, I see exploitable oversight on the devs part. It was Tim's express intention that Chunnelling SHOULD NOT happen if either the Chunneller or the target moved, either towed or under its own steam, but it was discovered that if the tow breaks due to the tower running out of fuel, chunnel still happens. Now tow-chunnelling is the considered the de facto Borg manoeuvre, instead of the balance-breaking, unintended - even COUNTER-intended - exploit that it is. The ship limit and PBP system was based on the technological limitations of PCs from 20 years ago, and as such, couldn't really be solved at the time. Some people DID come up with alternative schemes, but all had their exploitable weaknesses and changed game-balance in meaningful ways. The exploitation (or "strategic utilization", pick your poison) of broken mechanics like these, or failure/refusal to do so can often be what wins or loses games, and as such the top-tier players at least have to be aware of them.
Bottom line is, we're left with a game that has an effective ship limit of around 350 instead of 500, and most time is spent in the middle game managing build queues and tow-chunnel points (which cannot be visualized in the client) and working out friendly code/ID mechanics, rather than focusing on regular strategy, tactics, and logistics. Turns take longer, and are less fun to play, but it's what you have to do to compete. Let's try not to think about the effect this has on a newcomer, who is already overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and trying to understand the basic mechanics of the regular game.
/rant mode off
But OK, the shiplimit is sacred, and too many balance points rely on it (currently). So what if, instead of going to the next ID Starbase, the next regular build went to the next RACE in line, at THEIR next available Starbase that was set to build (or clone even? *gasp*)? Since you couldn't (and wouldn't want to) avoid combat altogether, and you couldn't stop your enemies from getting their turns to build GOOD SHIPS, you would only be hurting yourself to use YOUR regular builds to build a slotfiller. You could control where you built your next regular build by simply not setting your lower-ID starbases to build anything (at the risk of missing a big combat/recycle session), and of course the existing PBP sytem would still apply, so aggression and effective combat would still be rewarded. The last base to see a regular build would have a flag of some kind, so you wouldn't even have to keep track of it yourself.
I'm sure there are flaws (which you will kindly point out, I hope, so we can solve them?), but question seriously: at the end of the day, wouldn't it be more fun not to have to worry about all that crap? Wouldn't it be better for everyone not to have to manage a fleet of sdsfs? Wouldn't it be better to reclaim those 150 ships? Even if it's not perfect, isn't it better?
Metadan, I agree on many things you said about "exploits".
Regarding your suggestion: "So what if, instead of going to the next ID Starbase, the next regular build went to the next racein line,..."
What do you mean with "the next race in line"? Do you suggest that the build pointer should cycle through the races and not the starbases? This would mean that every race gets the same number of builds which would alter the game dramatically.
I like when people throw some ideas on the board, that will bring us closer to a real solution. Lets help eachother to figure out what ideas work, and what ideas need more thinking. But dont be afraid to bring your ideas...
@metadan Your idea is interesting, but it would further balance the game in favour of the races with the biggest ships. If borg builds a cube, everytime Fascists build a vickie, borg will win easily. And fascist cant even counter that, by building lots of bases. But maybe we could simply randomize the id of the base that gets to build in the normal queue ? Simply pick a random number between all the bases currently building a ship ? Building lots of bases, and ordering lots of good ships, will help you overcome the disadvantage of having smaller ships. And ordering a small freighter at a base, will mainly decrease your own chance of getting a better build. I also think that the PBP system should remain. It will ruin tactics for too many players as it is now. Let me let you all in on a little secret i never convinced myself to share with donovan. Under Thost, there was actually also a limitaion to the PBP system. If you built over 12 ships using PBP, you couldnt build any more with PBP, and the normal queue would then kick in. (or others with over 20 PBP) I often used this, to deliberatly make the queue move, while still keeping the control of the queue. Recycle 13 slotfillers, order 12 new slotfillers, and the queue would move at least one slot.
Maybe if we reintroduced this system, and lowered the number to say 3 slots ? So you can still build/teleport Falcons,terraformers, swifts. But if you try to block the queue after a big battle, you wont be able to. You wont loose the PBP you have collected, and you can still build 3 more small ships the next turn. But if you cant keep your enemy from building his ships, then you also have to build good ships of your own, in order to keep up with him. It would mean, that if you are up against a player trying to block the queue, you should seek out big battles, because in small skirmishes, he can suck up the PBP gained. But dont we all like big battles anyway ?
Dines idea sounds VERY interesting to me. At first glance I don't see any flaws only advantages. The traditional control strategies remain useful (just to a smaller extent) but the queue can't be blocked completely any more.
I am a queue controller but sometimes I have a bad conscience because I force others to also deal in detail with this complicated matter if they want to compete. With Dines idea of a maximum of 3 (or maybe 5) PBP-builds per turn the queue controllers advantage remain but it is not this decisive any more.
I find the idea so promising that for the first time I use the catchword: Joshua, take a look!
P.S.: Thx for sharing the secret about TimHost, Dines!
Well, the best would be to test such a drastic change in a test game. But im not sure its possible.
If The host code is the same lines of code used by all games, you would change the system for all games. If this is the case, you should of course make a configurable option in the host code, and have a configure file for each game. Im suspecting that right now the configuration files are either hard coded, or at least the same for every game. Thats probably why there are no games offered with different configuration. But thats something that should change anyway. Im sure Joshua can tell us more about this, and how hard it would be to set up a test game with an alternate queue+ PBP system.
Part of the stated reason Ion storms were added was to sweep away ship sitting around not doing anything, they do not seem to go a very good job of it.
The real issue is that the ship limit system is fundamentally flawed and needs to be revamped completely. This will make the purist very unhappy, but it needs to be addressed it is one of the things that turns off new users.
I am iin agreement with Lindybomber. If NU is ever going to attract large groups of players, a more intuitive, more noob-friendly, less manipulation-laden system needs to be implemented.
I point to the upkeep system I proposed. Ships and SB defenses have an inherent upkeep (salary) that must be paid every turn or global happy points decrease for all colonists. It is a sliding scale based on military value of the ship and crew complement. (makes Iron Lady and Vendetta have a purpose) that is not felt much for the first few ships, but is very restrictive as you build more. So, there is not much added upkeep for your 15th ship, but if you want to squeeze one more heavy carrier out on turn 60, you have to be able to pay for its crew to eat, minor repairs, etc. every turn.
The hardest part to accomplish in the past was how to collect (there was no global bank account), but apparently NU has been working on this for other reasons. Perhaps it can be adapted.
Although I would call myself an experienced and good player, I never made use of the building queue to the extent some of you described above. That might be one of the reasons why I would not count myself to the group of top-tier players.
However, I can only agree to vepr and metadan saying that this queue controlling is not fun respectively not worth spending the real-life time you (would) need for it - at least for me. Honestly, it would be a pain for me having to consider this as well in the game just to be competitive. I would just be frustrated by having to do that. It's simply not fun.
And think of all the other players out there which are still struggling with the basics and the advanced stuff. I don't think most of them would like to play this queue-controlling thing - even if they love grand strategy games.
Hence, I would welcome a change to this mechanic (although I'm usually against changes to Planets). Important is to not replace it by another complex mechanic. Best would be, if the queue-controlling would be removed completely in my opinion.
Keep in mind: The game shall be FUN, not work. And a turn's length should be reduced, not increased.
You're all quite right about my scenario being tipped to the big boys. What if the ships were weighted, such that a scout/probe/freighter would be a zero, a midship (up to the torpers' battleships) would be worth 1, and a heavy carrier would be worth 2, with the values representing "turns" skipped in my racially sequential regular queue? Again, the PBP system still applies, so the regular queue is only half the equation.
The idea is to eliminate, or reduce to insignificance, the value of queue-controlling measures, so we regain a normal, later ship limit and focus on the fun parts of the game, as Nakor points out. Don't get me wrong, I agree with lindybomber's assertion that the limit system is fundamentally flawed and ought to be completely overhauled along with a whole system revamp, I'm just looking for a quick fix within the confines of the existing framework to achieve that end, since Joshua has essentially told us that work-intensive upgrades are de-prioritized until we draw more customers.
I like the concept of the military upkeep system, with only one caveat: I don't want it to be based on a tax of in-game resources. They're already there as a limiting factor (you can't build what you don't have), and tying mc-production to your overall military limit just ensures military supremacy for economically enhanced races. If it was a separate value based on planets/structures/starbases/what-have-you (but with a basic irreducible minimum) it would still favor aggressive expansion, but wouldn't automatically hand military dominance to Econ-races, who are already advantaged in their conventional ways.
I'm really glad all this is being taken seriously by the community rather than swept aside by nostalgia for the bad old days. :)
I like Dines suggestion because it will introduce an element of randomness that removes the ability to manipulate the queue while not changing anything else too drastically, so it has great potential to actually get implemented.
I'm perfectly able to play the queue when necessary but I don't want to, so I would love to play in games where it isn't a necessary thing to do to stay competitive.
"If you have more than 20 PBPs you might be able to both clone and do a normal build at the same starbase at the same time, if your PBPs don't drop below 20 during the builds/clones."
this quote is straight from the priority build points part of this site how to play section. Is this another example of the cutting and pasting which seems to be prevalent in the documentation here? as a pirate, cloning doesnt typically figure into my plans, but I thought that it was pretty well established that you can not both build and clone at the same base the same turn. in fact, given the quirkiness of the host order, cloning itself after the ship limit was supposedly virtually impossible under ordinary circumstances, unless more ships got destroyed in one turn than the total number of all bases in the cluster with build orders.
Regardless of what you do with the PBP of recycled freighters I would still spam the Que (preferably with low lvl warships to deceive players looking on the scoreboard) to deny my enemy a ship. With an aggressive play, you run out of ressources and money pretty quickly and you need the ship limit to recover desperately in most cases.
The added PBP is unnecessary in my oppinion. Gives you an additional bonus of something already important (building a ship, denying it to your enemy). If you would change the (imho stupid) rule of using PBP after 450 turns, there would be a much higher incentive to recycle those ships early on (to secure them from Ion Storm / cloakers) and leave more space in the ship que.
By the way, I doubt that the addition of a sustained ship-cost will make the game more noob-friendly...
Quote=vepr: "By the way, I doubt that the addition of a sustained ship-cost will make the game more noob-friendly... "
So much of the advanced maneuvers players do is directly related to gaining advantage with the ship limit. It really pervades just about every aspect of the game's strategy. If you remove all of that from the game and replace it with a single upkeep number every turn that can not be got around or manipulated in the strange ways the build queue can be, it makes the game way more intuitive and decreases the learning curve pretty dramatically.
Players will probably build way too many ships in their first game, more than they can pay for. Their colonists will get pissed and eventually revolt, and that player will never make that mistake again. But I agree that a single cash-fueled price for upkeep payments is not a good idea. It should be tied to number of planets controlled in much the way BANE's post describes. But that system does not take into account the military value of a ship.
Since Super Refit gets nerfed, you could simply give the Feds a discount on upkeep for ships that are built junky and then refit with expensive parts. That basically mimics the way Super Refit affects the game now. Also, you may be thinking that building a lot of hissers would be too easy, but that is only true if your total military score is tiny since it is a sliding scale. It all works in a very intuitive way that feels like reality.
Since I also favor a degree of unpredictability, I also think that ships and their crew should have some innate value to the empire. When a ship is destroyed, the planet that built the ship should lose happy points based upon its upkeep value. But like I said, this is an entirely different game.
Daniel, if you are going to quote me, at least use my quote not rudel's.
I do disagree with the upkeep system. i have never played a game where paying upkeep for your fleets or weapons made the game more fun or better. you usually end up hating it because it is a cost that you have to pay before you get to spend you resources on the stuff you really want.
Also, linking the ship limit to the planet count has problems as well. imagine you are fighting an opponent that is matched to you planet wise. then if you start to lose planets, you ship allocation drops, and so does your ability to fight back effectively, in effect accelerating your demise. The current system allows you to have a large powerful fleet with a small empire, or vise versa.
One way to make the issue more balanced out is to get rid of the ship limit but make the ships 3x more expensive. we will be self limited by resources and probably never reach much above the current ship number.
Now, on the other hand, after participating in this discussion, I started paying attention to the queue again and adjusting my building based on the queue. I must say that I have noticed a difference and I think if you are comfortable with other aspects of the game, learning to control the queue is a very worthwhile pursuit. I do still think it is annoying though but does give you an edge.
1. One good ship towing a sdsf doubles the amount of money you can move.
2. A two engine scout can tow a sdsf and get an addotional ? 60 clans 10 supplies.
3. even a warp one sdsf can be moved at warp 6. moving 70 minerals/clans (as they grow) and some money around can make the difference in a new area you can not get addition ships to after a scout drops clans.
4. sdsf are an attack weapon of the rebels and fascist. you approach my planet to capture it. Fine I move a sdsf at warp i into the warp well. You either have to then take the time to hunt down and kill my sdsf. Leave a ship in orbit to protect the planet. Or as you move off my sdsf will move back to the planet and take it back over.
5. You can use them as fuel tanks and haul additoinal fuel around.
There may be more. But the race you are playing has some thing to do with it. Some races just do not have low cost (minersls) ships with weapons to use as frieghters.
Also, it has its strategic advantage if you are fighting against a torp based race. You can set the SB to nuk or att then have X number of SDSF there to catch a few torpedoes each. Not necessarily a conventional tactic. But still an effective means of using lesser pointless ships to handle a more serious ship without any real economic waste in resources.
It fills me with satisfaction to see great battleships heroically defeat 4 or 5 small freighters with skeleton crews and get blown apart when they reach the starbase and are out of ammo. Only my luck with ion storms prevents me from defending every starbase this way.
Defensive strategies counting on attackers mistake are in my experience not very effective. Also eight of those sdsf would count already a battleship PBP-wise and as you don't get any by destroying the battleship with a planet, you are not winning in any way. Resources are cheap, PBP are expensive.
At the highest levels of VGA you must control the queue or you will die. That being said slot fillers are rarely if ever the best use of your resources and again at the highest levels of play if you build slot fillers and your opponent builds something even marginally useful that can limp around on one leg - you will likewise, die. If the borg is alive and healthy and the queue is barely moving, you will die. If you never use PBP to replenish lost powerful warships, trying to stay at 20 PBP all the time, you will die. There are lots of ways to die based on the queue and it requires astute and delicate management to maximize profit against the best players. I am midway between all opinions in this thread, it's neither a bane nor a blessing in disguise but it can be either given the particulars of your situation. In other words it's just another piece of the strategic puzzle.
dungeonmaster, could you elaborate how especially the cyborg benefit from the queue stalling? I am assuming all sides have equal strength military.
What I'm regarding with building slot fillers is that you build all possible starbases which can churn out real ships, then you build all possible starbases which can build slot fillers and also all your starbases use PBP to jam the queue with sdsf's. No way you can win any war by building sdsf from queue when your opponent gets capital ships from queue.
@kosmonymous: This is well known on the internet and in many guides. Even if both sides have equal military strength the mathematics of combat are such that a big ship is always better than ship combinations. Every biocide takes down at least 1 ship and with your positional and tactical advantage it's more like 2-3 on average (if you are really good your cubes only die when you want them to). The biocide is a tech 9 carrier, it takes about 5000 MC to produce one at any base. If the queue stalls (when, not if), the borg proceed to fill every single base next in line with a "cheap" biocide. Although there are many instances of this in finished games you can look at say turn 65 in this game: http://planets.nu/games/25721 Having a core set of bases that produce "useful" ships is the path all the other races must take. The borg show up and produce a cube out of a frozen mudball that's next in line.
Scorpious war is an example of people painfully upgrading all their bases to produce something useful, even though there are likely tons of "slot fillers" they all realize a slot filler is not going to cut it and they want a "real ship build". There's very little combat because they can't risk it, both on an economic level and on a ship count level. The borg thrive under such conditions, it's the "end game". A handful of races do well in end-game, borg and pirates rule it - for very similar reasons, though I'll let you figure out the pirate side of the equation. ;)
DM, I am with you on exactly what you said. But I would interject that other teams can accomplish what the Borg do. It just takes much more planning, and it will not be to quite the degree (you can't do much better than a Cube, after all). The Feds, for example, have their own ways of taking advantage of the queue pretty darn well. They build Nova hulls everywhere at bare bones starbases for later upgrade, and build Kittyhawks and Nebulas with PBPs. Last couple of times I played the Feds I never really had to build any SDSFs.
The Fascists have a cool method of building cheap Nefarious dudes and ramming them into stuff to get one of the PBPs back. That one is better on paper than in execution unless they are facing one of their favored opponents - Privateers especially - or on defense.
The Privateers, as you tipped off, have a completely different method of working the queue to their advantage.
Considering that THE advantage of the Borg is their economy (rather than just a side effect like these other teams), I would say that these other guys are pretty well off at handling the queue even when compared to the Borg.
Phew... I just hope, I'll never have to play boring games for hundreds of turns, where I've to think about PBPs seriously. Total waste of time as others have mentioned already. I'll try to end games before turn 50 with a very aggressive way of playing and a good partner. On turn 30-40, when the ship-limit usually occurres, it doesn't matter, if someone could build some more warships, because at this time your alliance will (or should) have about 200 planets and is right in the middle of a war to get the missing 50 planets. A few races are already dead at this stage and you can easily grab their planets. If you fail with this tactic and for some reason all remaining races ally against you... well... haven't seen this in any game so far. Maybe I've always played against weak opponents so far?
Well, here is an example of a game i would NEVER have won ignoring the PBP system:
Take a look at the military score and planets graphs. Robots thought he had ended the game, when i joined in turn 50. But by using the PBP system, i managed to wear him down. Once i destroyed a few golems, i controlled the queue. Building slotfillers when i wanted the queue to stop so i could get bases ready in the normal queue. Recycling low id slotfillers, and replacing them with low id cloakers, to make sure i win all towconflicts, and can usually fight the golems one at a time. And ofcourse using the PBP on madonzillas, because they cost less PBP to defeat golems with.
And trust me, it was NOT a boring game...
It does sound like you have only encountered weak opponents so far.
Games ending at turn 50 are more of a planetrace than a wargame.
Dines, I guess, your PBP-strategy was only succesful, because the Bot didn't care about PBPs. It's the same with taxes/max growth. It's annoying, but you've to take care about it, because maybe you opponent does. So... if everyone does the same PBP-"trick", then one can ask: what the hell are we doing here? Let's just skip this annoying "feature" :)
Just an idea: - No more ship-limit, but instead a new currency - let's call it prestige. - You need prestige to build ships (maybe also needed for building SBs to avoid SB-spamming in mid/end-game). - You gain some prestige turn by turn automatically - You gain extra prestige for destroying enemy ships/planets/bases - The larger the ship, the more prestige you need to build it - The more ships (or kt) are existing in the game, the more prestige you need to build additional ships (exponential growth)
This prestige-system is similar to the one used in Panzer General. I like it a lot, because it rewards active gameplay.
It is not accurate to call PBP management a trick. A SB friendly code set to mkt to catch cloaker off guard is a trick. PBP management is a significant strategy. It is a complicated part of the game and difficult to do well. I offer that folks complaining about it would do well to accept that it is a part of the game and learn it like I presume you did with managing growth rates, cargo/fuel logistics, etc. It will bring your game up to a new level. Really. You will not be sorry. It is only "boring" while it is a mystery.
just a matter of oppinion. I also really dislike long-term games and therefore I
am always playing very aggressively. Omegamann and I share the same game
approach, that's why it always worked out pretty nicely when we were allied. If
you are able to annihilate 2 races in the first
40 turns, the game game is won in most cases. I
would categorize the planets players into two categories, the "builders" and the
"warmongers". If you combine two warmongers as a team that faces a builder, he
is history in a couple of turns. Especially if you have the proper races (brute
force and cloakers are a perfect combination). In those cases, I doubt that the
PBP / slot fill idea is that important because of the 250 victory condition. The
game will be decided before the builders have chance to catch up. It is still
favourable to build as many bases and slotfillers as possible to deny the
builders (who get stronger with every turn after 30+) to build their
Those are by far the games I prefer.
On the other hand, the classical planets approach (i.e.
with the 65% mil. power victory condition) with 11 traditional planets gamers
who like to build their empire before going to war absolutely need a good
management of the build queue. Because the major fights will take part at turn
40+ when the ship limit is already in place. TBH I never really cared about it,
I build my slot fillers and occassionally use the "pbx" commands. But checking
the build and reacting to it is far too much micromanagement in my oppinion.
Daniel, it's not a mystery... and not a "trick". It's just a very annoying, half-cooked feature in my opinion. Some features of Planets are pure fun, some are just work. It seems, that many players like these work-features, too. But I really hate them, because they are time-consuming and I have the feeling, that I do something, that is better done by a simple script. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but that's how I think about features like the PBP management. Think about a game of chess and a new rule: you have to tap one's toes constantly. If you don't, you lose the game immediately. The essence of the game is ruined. Chess is NOT about tapping one's toes. And Planets (in my opinion) is not about PBP management.
>>5. You can use them as fuel tanks and haul additoinal fuel around.<<
Yep, they are external cargo pods and drop fuel tanks. Carrying 70 supplies and 200 fuel adds extra padding for your capital class vessels. Keeps them in the fight longer or returns them to the fight sooner. If your enemy is stripping the fuel off his planets (and what good one doesn't) they can be the difference between being able to continue an offensive or having it stall.
If you give them Warp 6 engines they can even head for home or continue to follow the fleet bringing forward cash, fuel and cargo (at least against non-cloakers). They'll eventually catch up with the crippled vessels, at least.
These are the folks that win VGA Planets. If you are good at all three, you are a top tier player If you are good at two, you are an good player If good at one, you are a average player If good at none, you are a newbie or you have stopped playing
dines, fun is objective and for me its putting time to compete in controlling a complex system with limited knowledge when opponents are trying to do the same. Making it more or less complex doesn't necessarily make it more or less fun. I understand that there is a certain desired level of complexity for every player, but there lies the brilliance that with VGA planets you can always strive to get better at it or you will get education from your opponents.
Only problem I see with slot fillers is that its stupid, simple and everyone needs to do it. So it could be automated, so that your excess PBPs are automatically built as SDFS's so it becomes less tedious. Or change them as "PB points" stored in the starbase, which can be stolen with enemy towers.
Also growth-taxing and factory building should be automated.
The main idea behind my post is that do not make the game system/rules less complex, but make the game simpler (less tedious) to handle. And better documentation.
Some quote went: "Remove everything you don't need and you're left with everything necessary."
We could start with Stardrive 2.
Need to stop, Friday is starting to fragmentate my brains.
I'll chime in one last time guys, I think the game is about first assembling your pieces and then playing with them competently and to effect. The "build phase" is a mere 20 turns, and it should be so. The PBP system allows for an effective player, who is successful in his management of attacks to acquire more pieces and for an effective economy to out-produce a weak one.
The game Dines showed is a good example. Dines would have lost if his opponent attacked more effectively and/or outproduced him, both were possible in my estimation and the best man simply won.
As far as the borg in mid game goes, DM is right, if all things are equal at that point the borg will steam roll all others in direct combat. It is all about the ship builds and while those 550 moly cubes are expensive, no one else is chunneling merlins and LDSF around ahead of the build cue. The borg can easily put an entire Starbase and Cube in a "box", chunnel it to a planet in front of the build cue, and pop out a cube. Rinse, repeat, destroy all others.
No one else has this economy in the late game unless they have stolen or traded for, and cloned, borg tech.
Also, those of you that leave sdsf sitting around can have your toys taken away by cloaking and HYP races. If you don't like enemies building filler, do something about it and get those pbp for yourself.
There are lots of changes suggested above. I hope we can keep vanilla games going - where players competed based on skill. If you want something new (and unbalanced and buggy) there is Stellar Cartography where the already strong Borg can chunnel your entire fleet to total oblivion. . . Or your pop can be irradiated. Lets add new ideas to that and let people that like that sort of thing enjoy the chaos.
Like the game of chess, I think 3.5 is exactly what it needs to be which is why this old game has survived. IMHO Nu improvements should continue to primarily focus on the interface and start to address the problem of quitters/game hoppers.
+1 to everything Valhalla said, especially "IMHO Nu improvements should continue to primarily focus on the
Yes, the Nu interface is wonderful but still leaves much to be desired for those of us who used to unpack our TRN and run it through multiple clientside third-party utilities to maximize our strategy. It's nearly unbearably tedious now to have to have a calculator on my desk to do the Pythagorean theorem to find the distance between unowned planets.
Oo, no kidding. Thanks for the awesome tip. I was proud of myself for being a trigonometric overachiever. I need to get more proficient with the hotkeys. Right now I feel like my turns are taking twice as long as they should.
I'd love to see some way to automatically calculate income from natives based on future population. The complexness of native growth/happiness/income has always been frustrating since, as soon as your colonist population is high enough, you can't tax them at a constant rate because if you do they won't grow as fast and ultimately you won't make nearly as much money. (Soapbox for a minute: I think the growth and happiness formulas were one of the weakest and oft-overlooked flaws in Host 3 ... not that I think they should be changed, but they suck.)
It would be nice to have a load & build feature for mkt and free fighters so as not to have to calculate the number of credits needed.
Also, somewhere in the forums there was a conversation about calculating max fuel in an enemy ship for when you're playing Privateer. VPA does that for you automatically and I'm lazy :)
Visual prediction of an ion storm trajectory?
P.S. ... I'd love to know the formula for Stellar Cartography star halo crew loss. Documenting the nuts and bolts of new features is a must for hardcore players. And I think it would benefit everybody to have more links to the details of things like diplomacy (does a peace agreement also share intel? you have to try it to find out since it doesn't seem to say anywhere on the site whether those two diplomatic relationships are mutually exclusive).
P.P.S. ... "Go check Donovan's" is great advice and everyone should do so, but for the newbies it would be awesome to have solid data (not tips, just mechanics) one click away.
Lol yeah, I like bein able to do the math. But I limit my use of it when there are more time saving methods available lol.
There was an update recently that shows your required clan count when you overtax. It doesn't mention what you could make. But how many more clans you need to get there. I don't know if it works vice versa where you have enough colonists but not enough natives to tax higher.
Big Beefer posted a third party script on predicting Ion Storms. It's fairly efficient. I'll have to dig a link but it's in the developer portion of the forums somewhere.
Star clusters emit radiation which kills crew and colonists in starships. Ships which start in, or pass through a radiation halo will lose crew and colonists clans equal to the highest point of radiation passed through. The amount of radiation emitted is a function of the temperature of the star cluster and the distance to which it is emitted is a based on its mass.
Ships that can cloak halve their losses while cloaked, and advanced cloaked third the losses.
The above is quoted in Here http://planets.nu/documentation/star-clusters
The best way to determine distances is to zoom all the way to 4000 % mag and count the pixels. Simple and eliminates any calculator errors. You know how unreliable those electric gizmos are. now, if you have a trusty abacus with you, that's a different story....