Let's talk about food

Given that we’re getting pretty close to our beta full round, I feel now is as good a time as any to ask the question…

Should food return?

When I started running alphas, the food removal was a somewhat contentious point, with some people preferring the simplification of being able to be easily informed of population, as well as how it’s increasing, while on the flip side, not having to deal with the general starvation of your population may have contributed to invasion being more difficult.

I’m interested in opening a dialog with everyone at this point, a lot of people have played the alphas and have a feel for the gameplay, has the simplification of previous food providers been too much? Should I nerf farms a bit? Should food be a real consideration for a return?

I do want to avoid the ‘I don’t like change’ style of debate, so would ask that everyone back up their feelings with solid reasoning, as well as keeping an open mind. If this is a question that can be answered with some minor tweaking to the current output then it should be noted…

I’ll point out now that there’s no chance of food returning before the beta, it’s quite a lot of effort to get all that in and calculated properly, but I’ve always tried to be transparent with everyone, and value the feedback you provide. I’ve changed some behaviour for (previously) technical reasons, but I do have more of an open floor, and opportunity to effect change.

So please, let me know how you feel on the subject, even if you don’t feel at all!

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Well since someone will have to start this off… here’s my two cents:

Pro-foodie here, the simplicity in itself is good, balance for invasions can be tweaked regardless of the food implementation or not. However, I think food allows for some interesting possibilities in the future. I do not see it as necessary for the game currently, but it allows for future options mostly.

I can imagine at some point needing population to get the metals and minerals out of the mines, however they need food to eat, you could bring food from a food planet there, at the risk of having a fleet block your food supply and your population dieing. Or produce foos on the planet itself against worse abundancies. Making your mining less efficient, but less risky too. etc.

So I think of food more as providing additional options possibly, rather than being a big game changer in its current state.

What are your thoughts people?

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Not needing food to sustain population simplified the game a lot, so i guess this mostly depends on where you want to go with the game in general (who do you want to attract as a playerbase).

Personally i prefer food being significant, for the same reasons as Phaedrus mentioned above.
It makes no sense that pop grows and is sustained while having no actual food there.

For the alpha/beta round, i’ld propose to nerf growthrates on farms etc. (keep LC and hospital the same). Even more if you want to keep the OS available at start of the turns (not food related, but i felt it’s a great addition to speed up the game and cause massive mayhem!)

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Personally I haven’t noticed a big difference between the 2 versions. I didn’t particularly think it made invasions harder.

From a realism point of view it makes sense that food structures exist but whether they need to produce a surplus is the real question.

In the last code pop would eat the food each turn and if you didn’t have enough output the pop would eat stored food and then die. In my own builds until you had hydrodomes there was no point wasting time building food up on a planet with a low % when you were using it for metal/mineral and so would just have enough output so the pop didn’t die. Overall you didn’t have many planets with more than 1mil pop unless it was for production so invasions were not an issue and having food as an extra resource to use actually slowed invasions down at the start of the game which tended to benefit larger/organised players more.

The current system you still need to have food output to grow pop until your planet is full or you ship it around so maybe the only thing to do is change it so that without some kind of pop production it starts dying. Or alternatively don’t have pop have clones and run with clone vats etc in place of current names. That could be more relevant as you can just have clones making new ones each turn to replace the ones that die behind the scenea.

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The game will be fun whatever you do. We could go “foodless” just with the understanding that workers and ship crews feed themselves somehow, maybe in an unregulated black market, and let players just pay for things with metal, mineral, and stored energy.

How are you planning to allow food to enhance a player’s research rate? The alphas so far have one research point per turn, unchangeable, and (imho) too limiting. The games I remember before had research depend on scientists, which it took food to build - you couldn’t build (train?) scientists (or soldiers) without a food surplus. I liked that it rewarded players who could manage their resource output better.

Pro Foodie,

For me the use of food to sustain workers added an extra dimesnion in planning to sustainment of mining as mentioned in post number 1.

Additionally and more importantly in my mind when food was the key resource for producing ssoldiers it meant that you had to prioritise resource production between military or soldiers. Which then enouraged teamwork more. With jsut metal and mineral used for fleet and soldiers it is a lot easier to play solo style and you can just do it all.

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I’m pro food as well for the following reasons

  • it’s very simple to stack planets with large amounts of population (even if it might take some time) and it doesn’t cost much
  • it’s easier to farm soldiers because you don’t need to farm food for them, this was a major strategic point in old code
  • the orbital space on large planets is not really useful except for production planets if you don’t need to farm food for soldiers (see above)

In total I believe the current system reduces a lot of strategic complexity which in turn reduces the variety of strategies that can be applied successfully.