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DD #3: Economy, Production, and The Circle of Life: Part 1

Hey everyone!

Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about how the production side of the economy works, and specifically what the materials do, and how they are used.

So first, an overview of the system. There are 3 main materials that represent various minerals, materials, goods, and resources, collectively called ‘basic’, ‘heavy’, and ‘rare’ materials. Basic materials are used for virtually everything in the game – from building and maintaining infrastructure to building everything from mines to spaceships. Fortunately, basic materials are fairly easy to produce and mine. Heavy materials are used mostly for space installations and ships, so any Projects that have space-based applications will use a lot of heavy materials, as well as upkeep. Rare materials are mostly used for science and for energy stations, as well as labs. While they are rare, they are not generally used much, especially for agriculture-based planets.

So how do you get these materials? Easy – they need to be mined. All planets have a basic, heavy, and rare material rating, that represents how easy it is to get materials from the planet. This is done by miners, using mines. The more mines on a planet, that are staffed by miners, with high skill ratings (and backed by a Viceroy with a high Mining aptitude) the more materials that can be mined. These are raw materials that are then stockpiled for use. A certain percentage of the goods are set aside for maintaining existing infrastructure, and another percentage of goods are set aside for trade, while another small percentage is set aside for retail (explained earlier, if you are allowing basic goods to be traded). Now we get to the second part of the process, which is creating Build Points (BPs) that actually go towards construction of infrastructure, ships, etc.

BPs are split into their three types – basic, heavy, rare. Each structure that you build in AotSS takes a certain amount of BPs. For example, to build a new farm takes 30 basic BPs, 5 heavy BPs, and 0 rare BPs. By contrast, to build a new power generator (High-Tech), it takes 70 Basic BPs, 40 Heavy BPs, and 15 Rare BPs. These BPs are generated each turn and accumulate based on the build plan of the viceroy. The actual math to determine how a BP is generated is rather lengthy, but the basic calculation is to take how many factories are online (meaning they are staffed, one Pop to one factory), take the amount of raw materials that are allocated (based on the build plan; this can be overdriven as well if you have an aggressive viceroy) and take into account the engineer’s ratings and the viceroy’s Engineering aptitude (if any) plus their House’s engineering skill, take a industrial multiplier (kind of like the overdrive in MOO3) that the viceroy can use to overwork their engineer pops to get more build points at the cost of unhappiness and possible revolt) and voila! BPs fresh out of the oven. Next, the BPs are allocated to the planetary build plan.

The build plan is basically how the viceroy chooses to allocate the BPs that are generated monthly. So, for example, if the viceroy focused on farms, they might allocate 50% BPs to farms, 25% BPs to infrastructure (houses, apartments, and the like), and 25% to high-tech. So each month, farms would get half of the BPs, infrastructure would get 25%, and so on. Focuses can swing these build plans, and are one way you as the emperor can change the build ratios of a planet.

You also need to be able to pay for the upkeep of each level of development on your planet, which takes materials. If you are running out of materials, your most high-tech structures will start to decay and shut down, putting your Pops out of work (and they won’t be happy about it). Eventually, your farms will shut down, your food supply will dry up, and you’ll be living on stockpiles and/or trades until you get your development rebuilt. In game terms, there is a percentage chance that increases slowly each turn a level of development can’t be maintained. Once it’s shut down, it effectively needs to be rebuilt and restaffed.

So that’s the process in a nutshell. As the emperor, you want to make sure that your planets have enough raw materials to ensure that their factories can run at maximum efficiency. You also want to attract engineers and miners with high skill ratings, and you want to install a Viceroy who comes from a strong engineering and mining House (probably Ilioaia or Hawken) (Now you start to see why you might want to keep certain Houses in your good graces – it’s hard to build a manufacturing powerhouse world if you can’t get a Viceroy who’d be suited to run it!) You will be able to bring ‘prefab’ factories to planets in emergencies, but this is a Project and will cost much more in materials and coin than building factories would in the first place, but if you let your factories go this may create a ‘death spiral’ where you don’t have any factories left to rebuild! Don’t let this happen.

Well, that’s about it for now! Have a great day and we’ll talk soon in DD#4 about how food and energy work and how they factor into your Pops!

-Steve

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We’re active and alive! New development post

Hey everyone! This is Steve, with the first episode of ‘Sundays with Steve’. Since I always have Sundays off, I will try to update at least once a week, and probably more. Here’s the first installment of what we have been working on!

This last month has been mainly me learning Unity and C#. The C# hasn’t been bad at all (you learn one .NET language, you learn ’em all more or less) and I have to say that after an initial ‘WTF’ feeling about how Unity’s workflow works, I have gotten not only used to it, but I have to say that I’m in love with it! Prototyping what I have been sending internally to Pavlos and Travis has been much easier, and making changes is really quick and easy. I can’t say enough times how I wish I’d started with Unity. It’s really a great, powerful, and flexible way to build games, and though I can’t say that it was designed expressly for a TBS game, it’s quite adaptable. I don’t regret my decision one bit at this point, and am so excited!

Anyway, while I’ve been thrashing with Unity, Pavlos has been working on a comprehensive reboot of the planet and star systems. We’re going to be changing the economic system slightly, and to do that we needed to make planets more ‘real’, as well as their star systems. This will impact not only the economy, but things like rare materials and even how war is fought in certain systems! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

So Pavlos has essentially rebooted the stellar generation system to be much more realistic. Stars are now generated with up to 17 different spectral classes, from OB to WR (Wolf-Rayet). There are now binary and trinary systems that can effect how planets are generated, and what kinds. The size, age, metallicity, and planetary material (p-material) that systems generated when they are ‘born’ determine what planets are created, and where. Specials also play a part. For example, a Red Giant (RG) is a huge, old star, that has burned long and hot and is about to coalesce into a dwarf star (or worse). Since it is so huge, it is possible that spots 1 and 2 closest to the star will have been swallowed up! Spot 3 might have an irradiated, barren, or lava planet, and the farther away from the star you get the more ice and jovian-type planets are likely. There are probability tables that are actually editable as text documents so that testers can tweak the values as we play with the generation system.

As cool as that is, the planet system is even more detailed! Planets now have 16 different types (Imperia XNA had 6) and they have the following values:

Size (0-100) – Determines habitability area. In Imperia Unity, it will be possible to have multiple civilizations of different empires living on the same planet! Each ‘point’ of size represents an area of the planet that is unoccupied, occupied, or in contention. This not only makes the concept of ‘total development level’ easier to understand, but it will allow for ground warfare to be visualized and you will be able to see and track what territory you take. Terraforming will increase the probability that any given point that is not available will be habitable and available.

Bio Rating (0-100) – Similar to Imperia XNA.

Industrial Modifier % – This is sort of a catch-all modifier that incorporates how easy or difficult it is to sustain industrial operations on a planet. A high modifier will give bonuses to production and mining, while a low modifier will adversely affect it.

Rings – If a planet has rings, they will be more likely to have valuable materials in them. Also good for tourism. Yes, tourism. :)

Moons – Affects the bio rating positively if there are moons (no tidal lock) and also is a source of additional materials.

Alpha Materials (0-100) – A new concept in Imperia Unity, Alpha Materials are the fundamental materials needed to build everything in the game. These are equivalent to the original materials in Imperia XNA.

Heavy Materials (0-100) – Used for weapons, armor, research projects, and some buildings, Heavy Materials are a different sort of material, and somewhat more rare.

Rare Materials (0-100) – Used mainly for starships and science buildings, and some special projects. Rare Materials are, well, very rare.

Energy (0-100) Energy is another new concept in Imperia Unity. Energy represents a synthetic index of all the energy sources that might be present on a planet, including photonic, fission, fusion, and clean fusion. It is generated by a base of the kind of planet, but is modified by industry, production, and special buildings. It won’t be something you micromanage, but it will be something that you will need to keep an eye on, particularly for planets that you want to dedicate to a war or heavy production footing – it will be possible to transfer energy between planets in a system, but not between systems!

Planets will also have different specials, in order to further differentiate them. Currently we have 25 different special traits, and are working on more. Terraforming or developing a planet can either generate a new trait or ‘wipe out’ an existing one.

Currently, we are on build .0007. While that seems tiny, we already have a working galaxy UI and a system view, and a fully-generated quadrant with all stars, planets, etc. You will see a lot more progress updates soon. Testers, be ready to start getting some builds as we continue to refine the stellar generation engine parameters. Our goal is to have the most realistic stellar universe in any 4X type game ever(except for perhaps Aurora). We hope that you guys will appreciate the time being taken to get the fundamentals right and tight, and we’re making some great progress! I hope to have some additional screenshots up soon once we have some clarity on the UI design. That will actually be the topic of our next ‘Sundays with Steve’… until then… Ad Astra!

-Steve

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Imperia: Development Roadmap

Greetings!

So while this is a hobby project for me, I have a clear sense of what needs to be added and when. While I don’t have a specific time frame of when things will be added and completed, since some things are much more difficult to add than others,  here is the map I have followed so far and what I expect to be added in order in the future:

  • V0.01Basic game loop, engine programming, object definitions, buildable project – COMPLETE
  • V0.05 – UI functions, planet/system/quadrant UI – COMPLETE, EVOLVING
  • V0.06 – Designation XML Data, basic framework – COMPLETE
  • V0.07 – UI functions, UI – Mode selection bar, UI – Intel screen – COMPLETE, EVOLVING
  • V0.075 – UI – Main status bar – COMPLETE
  • V0.08 – Economic system in place – COMPLETE, EVOLVING
  • V0.085 – Populations system – unrest – COMPLETE, EVOLVING
  • V0.09 – Populations system – migration, jobs, birth, death, needs  – COMPLETE
  • V0.10 – Economic, population, intel and UI systems in place
  • V0.11 – Planetary scanning and system scanning functionality – COMPLETE
  • V0.12 – Character system – UI required – COMPLETE
  • V0.13 – Popular Support system (PoSUP) – UI required – calculations – COMPLETE, EVOLVING
  • V0.14 – Character system – actions UI – COMPLETE, EVOLVING
  • V0.15 – Character system – personality system – PROGRAMMING COMPLETE, ADDITIONS  IN PROGRESS
  • V0.155 – Viceroy AI – planetary development AI – COMPLETE, EVOLVING
  • V0.16 – Trade system – basic programming – COMPLETE
  • V0.17 – Intel system – UI required – COMPLETE, EVOLVING
  • V0.18 – UI – Quadrant screen- information sidebar – COMPLETE
  • V0.19 – Character system, Intel system, UI required – COMPLETE
  • V0.20 – Character, intel, and UI additions in place
  • V0.205 – Edict system – UI required – additions – COMPLETE
  • V0.206 – UI – Alert system – FUNCTIONAL, IN PROGRESS (move eventually to own screen)
  • V0.208 – Edict system – UI required – deletions – COMPLETE
  • V0.208 – UI – Adding map modes (TRADE, MIGRATION, SCOUT) – COMPLETE
  • V0.208 – AV – Adding music – COMPLETE
  • V0.209 – Edict system – adding edict definitions and results – 40% COMPLETE
  • V0.210 – UI – adding trade UI, starbase additions, and goods movement – COMPLETE, EVOLVING
  • V0.211 – Edicts – Terraforming, colonizing planets, creating outposts – COMPLETE

FUTURE ROADMAP:

  • V0.3 – Edict system complete (system and sector level edicts) UI tweaks added, add sound effects,  add demographic planet panel, fix any remaining quadrant generation issues, FIRST ALPHA RELEASE TO SOURCEFORGE
  • V0.4 – Add financial screen, expand intel UI to include unowned planets and character info, tweak economy, add Emperor info screen, complete all Designation effects to planet (terraforming, wages, etc)
  • V0.5 – Add science system, add science UI, add Lazarus Project victory condition, add Emperor global actions (move to planet, give empire-level speech, etc)
  • V0.6 – Add military system, add military UI, add military forces tab to planet UI, add starship development AI, add garrison/civil war programming, add admirals to character system (this is a lot and some may get moved to version .7)
  • V0.7 – Add event system programming and begin to add basic events, prepare save system functionality, review overall game design and adjust as needed, add game options UI when start new game
  • V0.8 – Complete event system and have majority of events scripted, saves, externalize all mod variables, add loading screens for starting new games and between turns (UI)
  • V0.9 – Add other empires and breakaway colonies, complete Empire level AI, add diplomacy UI
  • V1.0 – Imperia as designed is complete (although not finished!)

Now, I’m not putting a completion date on this – one reason why I am releasing this blog is to have an avenue for feedback to make this game as good as I can. It may be that someone has a terrific idea that I’d like to add – I’ve already heard a great idea about starting out as a planetary viceroy and working up as a possible start option, and I’m interested in exploring that. If you have any ideas or thoughts about where Imperia has been so far, please let me know!!

-Steve