Thanks for moving this to it’s own thread
And apologies for the delayed reply. Been trying to refine this between distractions and it might have gotten rather big…
The main focus of this thread is to find balancing mechanics where massive numbers don’t decide everything. Keeping the game accessible to players of different skill levels and managing alliances sizes is relevant to this, but it is my intention that good mechanics work in sync with these goals, rather than having them be a seperate point.
Taking the following under consideration, we can hopefully find good mechanics that are both fun and balanced. New and experienced play in same world and there are no tiers or other ways in which the player base is split. So when thinking of the impact of any bonus or penalty, we must do so for both new and experienced players.
Note that it is not my intention to level the field between new players and veterans, since that would likely be detrimental to the game. Instead making it either easier to get good at the game and prevent excessive scaling (snowb_lling) would improve the fun and balance for everyone. With preventing snowb_lling, I mean to avoid gameplay where having an advantage gives increasingly more advantage. One way this can be achieved is through diminishing returns.
This was also the goal of the initially given examples. Feel free to improve and expand on these, or add your own ideas.
To help improve previous and future points, I have split the abstract ideas and their examples and numbered them for easier referencing. Feel free to ignore or expand on my examples, they are initial ideas and references and I might misremember details that inspired some examples.
Let’s see where this ball will end up.
A) Added time: 1-5 players: +0% travel time, 6-20: +2.5%, 21-100: +5%, +100: +10%
B) Added time: 1-5 players: +0m travel time, 6-20: +10m, 21-100: +20m, +100: +30m
- 1.2. Alliance scaling in time
Sub-Topic: Make larger alliances more interesting later in the game
A) Reducing any or all alliance penalties over time
B) Make alliances interesting after the start
C) Tie alliance size into the economic concept
D) [very complex] Alliance economy to allow different forms of cooperation
A) Per X turns, the thresholds of alliance penalties (as shown in 1.1.1) are raised, removing or lowering them over time
B) As alliances give obvious benefits (tactics, control, power), counter balancing this for those without an alliance could be interesting. Over time it should still be preferable to join an alliance, as they will likely grown in strength and influence. This could allow for new players to start simpler and on their own, while later perhaps being contacted to join the alliance that is active in their area, or create one themselves.
Having players not tied into alliances (which I somewhat recall happening before turn 1) also seems like it would generate more interesting dynamics, with ‘conquering’ an area also being able to consist of trying to get unallied players to join you. As you raise the alliance cap limit over time, so could you slowly expand your influence. There are various ways how to stimulate this effect. For example points A (less attractive), C (economy) or other ways.
C) Mixing the alliance system with economy concept, alliance membership could have a cost. Too offset this for later expansion, it might unlock an extra economy building at a higher population level. So being in an alliance would become more a longer term tactic and discourage turn 1 alliances.
This special economy building might then only be build on your core planet, to prevent it scaling together with the planet count. Or it could be build on each planet and self balanced through population requirements or so.
D) If there are sufficiently high level of economy buildings that are sufficiently hard to make, players might focus on those to support others. Though this might be tricky to implement, requiring a form of trade agreements and allow for things like boosting or purchasing buildings / ships to make it interesting. This could then allow for an alternative slower place, while still being a valuable role within an alliance.
- 1.3. Fleet power
Sub-Topic: Small bonus for small fleets / diminishing returns for larger fleets
A) Add travel delay based on fleet power of (owned player or alliance fleet over planet)
B) Add departure delay based on fleet power of (owned player or alliance fleet over planet)
A) Added time: up to 1X power: +0% travel time, then scale linearly from 1X to 10X with 0% to 10% delay
B) Added time: up to 1X power: +0m travel time, then scale from 1X/2X/5X/10X with 2m/5m/10m/20m delay
- Economy concept
Stimulate early expansion through initial income, but then be limited as people need to focus on building out economy for more expansion vs production to attack/defend vs alliances. Especially tweaking the cost/income per planet/building could drive players to reach hard planet caps.
A) Planet upkeep
B) Alliance upkeep
C) Unit upkeep
A) A base cost per planet owned and/or an increasing cost per planet owned. For example 100 credits per planet owned.
B) Making alliance membership costs credits can make it an alternative choice compared to military or colonization
C) Some minor cost per unit could be another factor in preventing established groups from scaling up their army linearly just because they got bigger sooner. It would also mean that armies have practical limits due to the income needed to support them
A) Building income
B) Trading with (friendly / neutral) players
A) Income generated later through specialized buildings (e.g. market: +50 credits, bank +100 credits, stock exchange +250 credits, …). Buildings may be restricted based on population size. Bonus can be varied to change speed at which planets can be acquired. Good players can still rush the better planets or use advanced tactics or alliances can still drop in together. This is also influenced by how scanning planets will be implemented. Your core planet starts out with some main buildings and has a good initial income.
B) Allow for trading vessels to go between non hostile planets, increasing income based on the distance. Whether or not these could be attacked/looted by hostile parties is another option
2.3. Credit uses
A) Purchasing / boosting production
C) Alliance goals
A) Allow purchasing buildings and/or boosting production speed?
B) Trading for resources or ships
C) Allow members to contribute more than their share to the alliance upkeep, which would allow for more members to join.
A) Combined with unit upkeep this could create a reason for using an army rather than just holding on to it and stimulates a organic balance of expansion versus military.
B) A special ship that can sneak to undefended planets and loot resources? With a low chance of detection or requiring an scanner on the planet?
A) Allow players to select different modes, where they might get more overall resource points for their starting planet, but at the expense of their starting buildings and/or population and/or resource distribution. So normally resource might be 50-50-50-50 for the core planet, but now they could be random in the range 30-80, with the points of 4x60 distributed.
B) Allow players to have more or less buildings, at the expense of other aspects, to cater to different playstyles (improving a few planets vs having many). For example more population vs less production or other factors. Maybe get an initial colony ship at the expense of 1 less economy building
C) Players might select they get more resources directly, but much less initial buildings (or just little economy to prevents early expansion)
Considerations - Economy concept
- Planet upkeep costs would also have to be applicable to conquering planets.
- What if economy buildings could be destroyed/sold?
- Is there a credit stockpile? If so, what would happen if someone has used an economic buffer to expand, but later has too little or loses his income planets?
Maybe therefore there would not be an economic buffer and should the economic concept be added, then everything applies to the active income.
Even then, losing an economically strong planet could create a deficit and with penalties for this, cause a losing player to be hit even harder.
- Would there be reduced production (relative to the debt)?
- Would there be a risk of units deserting, after too long lack of payment?
- Let alone more complex mechanics.
- With alliance upkeep, how would leaving an alliance impact the limits, when said person has added more than his share?
Any additional penalties would be used to sneak into an alliance and have it go over its limit at a tactically advantagous time for a rival alliance.
Ease of use ideas
- Allow for a build queue on colonisation ships, to be executed if it arrives safely on a free planet
Random blerps / not their own subject:
- Allowing alliances special ships? Or rather have ships that are retardedly expensive to be build by multiple players as flagships which can only practically can be stopped by others of their kind, so as soon as you have one, you might have the means to attack another alliance, making it an end game type weapon. Might work together with the alliance upkeep and trading?