Author Topic: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy  (Read 10407 times)

GGLucas

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Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« on: July 31, 2013, 07:45:11 PM »
Originally posted on http://starruler2.com/2013/07/30/the-galactic-economy.html.

As space strategy fans, the Star Ruler 2 dev team spends a lot of time discussing and designing the mechanics of the game and trying to learn from the ways in which the first game fell short. These Dev Diaries are intended to give you a perspective of our process while explaining the future mechanics of Star Ruler 2.

Good evening! As our first dev diary, coupled with the announcement of the game, we thought it would be a good idea to describe one of the core mechanics of the game: The Galactic Economy.

In our previous game, Star Ruler 1, the economy was both too simple and too complex. You had access to a number of different resources, generated with arcane mathematical formulas and deposited in your galactic bank. At the same time, most of the economy management came down to choosing what type a planet should produce, and each type of resource became an almost interchangeable currency.


Currencies and Infrastructure

In SR2, managing the infrastructure and cooperation between your planets becomes vital. Only through setting up your empire correctly can your planets produce the four main currencies, and finding the right resources to continue building up your empire is key.

The main currency resources in the game (Money, Influence, Energy and FTL Fuel) will be discussed in later dev diaries.


A System Called Hate



This is Hate I, the homeworld of the race we will be following today. As a nice terran class homeworld with a shipyard and a research station orbiting it, it's ideal to start our expansion into space.

As all homeworlds in the beginning of the game, Hate Prime is a 'Level 1' planet.  A planet's level indicates their level of population and infrastructure and can range from Level 0 - a low population fringe world, to Level 4 - a utopolis of activity, producing many resources and benefits.




This is the Hate system. There are three other planets in the system aside from our homeworld indicated by the green border (if I were to represent the Hate empire with any color, it would without a doubt be bright green).

On every planet in the galaxy, there are raw materials present to produce a particular type of resource. This is indicated by the icon displayed on the planet. We can colonize the planets in our home system to produce Water, Grains and Textiles.

Improving our homeworld to Level 2 comes with some nice benefits, so let's go into the planet management overlay and see what we need to upgrade it.



So we need a type of food: Fish, Fruits or Grains. And one type of what's called 'Level 1 Resources'. These consist of, in order: Chemicals, Oil, Plastics, Rare Metals and Textiles.

Because staying in your own system is for empires with wussy names, we'll start construction on a mighty <strike>War Fleet</strike> Scouting Fleet.



A simple expedition fleet consists of a flagship, a Dreadnaught in this case, and a number of smaller support ships to accompany it.

<img src="/images/diary1/5_fleet_popup.png" alt="Dreadnaught tooltip." width="360">
<img src="/images/diary1/6_fleet_support.png" alt="Gunship tooltip." width="360">

Off to <strike>conquer</strike> seek out new worlds we go!



Our scouts have found a nearby system within our tradable region. It contains two planets that can produce plastics, one with more grains and a planet that can produce fruits.

Fruits sound like something useful to send back to the people back home, so we decide to colonize this newly discovered planet.



A caravan of colony ships containing fruit farmers is sent off from our homeworld.



After colonizing the planet, our empire borders expand and our tradable region now contains some newly neighbouring systems.

In order to make use of the fruits on our homeworld, we need to tell our new planet to export them to Hate Prime.



Now that our homeworld has access to fruits, let's see how its upgrade requirements have changed.



We've fulfilled the need for another type of food, but we still have to find a Level 1 Resource to send back home. One of the discovered planets that can produce Plastics should do just fine.

Newly colonized planets start at Level 0. Since Plastics is a Level 1 resource, we need to upgrade the plastics planet to the next infrastructure level first, before being able to produce and use its resources.

Let's see what the requirements are to upgrade our plastics planet.



So our plastics planet needs a Water and one type of Food (Fish, Fruits, Grains or Meat).

We'll colonize the Water and Grains planets in our home system and export them to the plastics planet we colonized to upgrade it. This grants us the ability to export the produced plastics to our homeworld.



As you can see, the Plastics planet's border changed to indicate it is Level 1, while the homeworld is now indicated as a Level 2 planet. Level 2 planets produce far more money than Level 1 planets, and have access to more types of structures and orbitals.

Looking at what the homeworld requires to reach Level 3:



That's quite a bit! First of all, we need another different type of food and another Level 1 Resource. Note the absence of Fruits and Plastics; Higher level planets require access to different types of resources, not just more resources in general.

In addition to that, we need one type of Level 2 Resource. This can be Electronics, FireArms, Medicines or Uranium.

After expanding for a little while longer, our homeworld finally reaches Level 3. When attaining this, your empire might look somewhat like this:




isaacssv558

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2013, 03:16:59 PM »
Yay! I had heard that your next game was not going to be star ruler related, so happy it is! I loved star ruler but it had a few major flaws, like the micromanagement and the AI not having any good design, that offset its awesome aspects like the designing and scale/flexibility. However I am sad to hear its Mac compatibility is in doubt as I use a mac and would have to wait for a demo so I could test it in wine and some wineHQ tests to make sure that I can get it to work. It might not work at all! If it weren't for that I would order it as soon as possible as long as the price was under ~$40.

Scars Unseen

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2013, 10:10:28 AM »
Definitely looking forward to this.  There are other games I enjoy that have less micromanagement(Distant Worlds being a good one), but Star Ruler is my favorite one to play in the late game just because of the crazy Megascale stuff you can do.  Can't wait to see what you pull out with Star Ruler 2.

TGS

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2013, 10:15:27 PM »
Wow this looks and sounds amazing. Sounds like you guys are really stepping up the original intent and moving it towards picking the great features of SR1 that people liked and taking it in a direction that is more practical and fun.

Really sounds amazing.

BTAxis

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2013, 11:27:52 AM »
Hmm, the ship design and scaling sensibilities of the first game put me off it, but I'm quite intrigued by what you've shown here. I'll be following Star Ruler 2 with interest and who knows, maybe this time it'll be for me. Good luck guys!

cause792

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2013, 01:04:26 PM »
Is the trade between star systems being done by freighter fleets or is it abstracted to just "trade lanes"?
Check out my Mirage shipset for Star ruler and Galactic Armory.
link under my name.

Freemann

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2013, 05:47:16 PM »
This sounds very great :) !

When will the next Dev Diary be released ?  :-* Can't wait  :-*

Space Voyager

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2013, 06:34:58 AM »
Phenomenal news! Been waiting for this for quite a long time.

I hope you don't complicate the game too much with huge variety of necessary resources though. This becomes tedious in turn based games, too, while it may be completely unmanageable in real time...

Have all the confidence in the devs, naturally. I've seen what they can do. 8)

DatonKallandor

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2013, 08:29:03 AM »
So can we not have intra-system trade or did you make the road to Level 2 more complicated for explanations' sake? It seems like you could have gone Level 2 in the example system by just using the Grains and Textiles from the starting system?

GGLucas

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2013, 08:38:21 AM »
Going out of system was intentional, but you can't get Level 2 in just that system. Textiles is a level 1 resource, so the planet with textiles needs to be level 1 before you can export that resource, so you need to give it food and water to get it there. You can't give the grain to both the homeworld and the textiles planet to get it to level 1, so you have to find another system regardless.

DatonKallandor

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2013, 11:46:47 AM »
Right, I forgot things start at level 0. I'd recommend bumping everything up by one and starting at level 1. Most people will not think that the count starts at zero - that's more of a math and programmer thing. Won't make any change to gameplay.

GGLucas

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2013, 01:01:20 PM »
Nah, it's intentional. Level 0 planets really do very little; they're called level 0 because they don't have any special purpose or stuff going on like a Level 1 planet would.

LanceCriminal

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2013, 06:30:44 PM »
This post makes it look like we cannot colonize outside of the influence zone.  Is that a permanent game mechanic now?

Thy Reaper

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2013, 06:38:19 PM »
You can colonize outside the trade boundary, but you won't be able to trade between your regions. Planets that are all within a shared trade region can trade with each other, they don't need to reach back to your homeworld.

DatonKallandor

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2013, 07:49:24 PM »
Is the intention of the new colony mechanic(s?) to stop or penalize blind colonization of every planet aka is there some kind of hazard rating or penalty?
Or is it just extra depth on-top of colonizing planets?

Thy Reaper

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2013, 08:33:51 PM »
Blindly colonizing every planet will crash your economy due to the cost of underdeveloped colonies. Only upgraded planets (Level 1 and above) will generate a net income.

kaptainkeel

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2013, 08:42:54 PM »
I like the looks of this. Lots of micromanagement. :D And that's good about the needing level 1 - might fix how in MP Star Ruler 1, it ended up just being a race on who could construct the most colony ships the fastest.

GGLucas

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2013, 08:50:11 PM »
Do note though, colonization is a core mechanic of the game, and you should be colonizing pretty much non-stop throughout the beginning and middle of the game.

If you're not colonizing, you're not getting more resources to do stuff with, so it's a given that eXpansion is important.

Rather than if you colonize, the where and what of your colonization should be where the interesting choices happen.

kaptainkeel

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2013, 01:21:43 PM »
Of course - I love it. I was just saying that MP ended up being get enough resources to spam 200+ colony ships, then set to auto colonize. It sounds like you might've fixed that in SR2 with the resource needs though. Guess we'll see!

Inauxas

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2013, 06:11:01 PM »
Are the resources listed placeholders or will they be the required resources after release? I ask because it seems, silly frankly, that a planet, a whole PLANET, cannot produce the materials listed itself. I mean, think of the diversity in food, minerals, and other resources Earth (our Earth) contains. I LOVE the idea of a planet being upgraded due to trade and diversity. These are after all planets though, not cities. Perhaps an extensive list of "alien" resources that could fall into general categories and could be unique to a whole planet may give it more depth. Categories like "food", "Ore", "liquids", "gases", and "manufactured" resources would allow this economic system to not only work, but provide a framework to place unique resources within each category. If one was REALLY adventurous, new scientific discoveries could be triggered, well research options, by the discovery of a new resource. For example: Humans, us in reality, discovering a new metal that was harder than any known metal currently, yet had an extremely high malleability. A discovery like that could lead to all new avenues in almost every industry.

With that said, it seems that by striking at outlying colonies you can weaken an empire as a whole, which taking into account how spread out and isolated systems were in SR1 and how painstaking it was taking down a well spread AI one system at a time was, seems like a solid idea. On the flip-side, it may make the game more difficult, in a fun or annoying way depending upon the player, to have a well-built core weakened due to players or AI hitting your outlying colonies. I am sure though you folks at BMS have taken that into account judging by how SR1 is my favorite 4x game.

Thy Reaper

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2013, 06:37:28 PM »
For now, the idea is that these are the resources the planet is capable of producing on such a scale that it can provide the resource demands for an entire other planet. There is, of course, a thematic issue with the mechanics, but the gain in gameplay is so substantial that I don't think it will change much. We will be paying close attention to the feedback about this particular issue as I'm sure it will continue to come up in the future.

Inauxas

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2013, 06:49:39 PM »
OK, with that being said, I think the modding support BMS is incorporating into SR2 will allow modders to add diversity to the planets themselves. If the ability is there to edit the planetary growth requirements a modder could add or subtract required resources to each level and then add that resource to the game. Sort of like Civ5, how the vanilla is very basic but provides a framework for mods like more luxuries or the Community Call to Power mod which adds a lot more diversity to resources and other aspects.

One more question if you will. What did you mean by this sentence exactly: "There is, of course, a thematic issue with the mechanics, but the gain in gameplay is so substantial that I don't think it will change much."

If you cannot elaborate due to spoilers I understand. I like what I understand of the premise, but I fail to see exactly what you were trying to convey in the context. :-)

Thy Reaper

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2013, 06:54:07 PM »
I mean that the issue brought up, that it's strange a planet can only produce a single type of resource, is a problem where the theme of the game doesn't mesh too well with the mechanics of the game. In this case, we felt the quality of gameplay we can get from the mechanic is worth the thematic mismatch.

As for modding the resources, it's extremely easy now, and that should remain the case out to release.

Inauxas

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2013, 06:57:22 PM »
Ah, OK. Well I think the thematic issue will be easily remedied by the modding capabilities.

Thank you for your answers Mr. Reaper, you are a scholar and a gentleman!

Teodosio

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2013, 03:53:42 AM »
I really look forward to see how this system will work during play... I hope this won't turn into a micromanagement feast.

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #25 on: September 19, 2013, 02:03:34 AM »
Nah, it's intentional. Level 0 planets really do very little; they're called level 0 because they don't have any special purpose or stuff going on like a Level 1 planet would.

So a level 0 is basically like an outpost.

Edit: Oh, and is there any rough estimate of a release date? e.g 'sometime in 2014' or 'maybe early 2015'?
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 02:12:37 AM by kaptainkeel »

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2013, 09:50:59 AM »
In response to the resource limit above, I imagine the Earth when we finally get to the tech levels implied by Star Ruler. The population will be a few factors higher than it is now. But we have resource shortages -now- that we will need to overcome. Now imagine being able to produce so much food to be able to fully support a 2nd earth with equal population. Or potentialy produce so much metal that we can afford to ship it off world. Its not that a planet only creates 1 thing. Its that a planet would need to specialize in order to produce a resource in quantities to cover its own needs plus a 100% surplus.
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thedeebo

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2013, 07:54:41 PM »
So how will this system work when you have hundreds of worlds spread all over the place? Will there be some automation, or is it all done manually? Can a planet only export enough of its resource to cover the needs of one additional planet, or will you have a kind of production number like in the first one that linked planets will be able to pull from? I can imagine losing a planet due to enemy activity and the complex chain of resources breaks down, cutting many planets off from their required resources. What happens when that situation occurs? Do the planets have time to recover their resource before they revert to a previous level or do they just "bump" down to a lower level?

Thy Reaper

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2013, 08:02:02 PM »
Our goal is to keep micromanagement low per-planet, so we're going to spend a lot of time making sure it's manageable. When a planet loses a necessary resource, it persists as it is for a few minutes before losing a single level at a time, giving you plenty of time to respond to changing economic circumstances.

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2013, 10:07:46 PM »
It's good to hear you are planning on keeping it relatively simple. I am excited to have a trade/economy system; I regularly play Dwarf Fortress, so economic complexity excites me. Admittedly, the other 99% of everyone probably don't enjoy quite as much craziness as I do, though.

DatonKallandor

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #30 on: September 24, 2013, 07:40:44 PM »
I hope you'll manage to get some kind of button in you can press to automatically generate trade routes. Maybe even make it several buttons (to make the auto-router generate differently weighted routes - maximum Level 1 number, highest possible single planet, etc.). It won't necessarily make manual control obsolete, but I imagine it would sure help when you've got dozens of planets. If Civ 5 could do it, it can't be too hard, right?

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2013, 03:04:15 PM »
I feel as though I've been gone far too long, these changes to the way things will work sound very interesting. :)
I have rereturned but will I stay this time?

Random

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2014, 12:58:19 AM »
Honestly, I'm not a fan. Star Ruler had its issues but not being Anno 27000 was not one of them. I much preferred the game when economy was handled in the background so the player could focus on strategic, grand-scale, decisions. I don't see this system working at all for a galaxy of even a hundred stars, let alone thousands. I don't see this as a way to play to Star Ruler's potential.

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2014, 01:40:16 AM »
In my experience of playing Star Ruler, it was sadly not the case that grand-scale strategy was at work. Although the scale was large, it was more spammy than strategic. Rapid, unguided expansion was the dominant strategy and more effective than careful planning and strategy. Individual systems had essentially no value.

Star Ruler 2's economy was designed specifically to solve the issue of having countless faceless systems and mindless expansion. It simultaneously guides expansion and conflict, and requires planning and a goal to be effective. The variety and scale of strategy has been enhanced, not diminished.

We regularly play in galaxies comparable in size to the galaxies I played in Star Ruler 1, and we continue to improve the ability to manage the empire beyond what was possible before without sacrificing available strategy.

Random

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2014, 10:08:00 AM »
I'm glad you guys are experimenting and enjoying your work. I think the approach shown here is one option to SR's spaminess, though as I said it's not the direction I would have preferred. I'll take your word for its scalability and I will be following SR2's development with great interest.

PS: Diplomacy looks fantastic but that's a different post.

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2014, 04:17:33 PM »
Star Ruler 2's economy was designed specifically to solve the issue of having countless faceless systems and mindless expansion. It simultaneously guides expansion and conflict, and requires planning and a goal to be effective. The variety and scale of strategy has been enhanced, not diminished.

This one quote gives me a lot of hope for Star Ruler 2. I'm glad to hear that things are developing down this path. I definitely agree that the systems in SR1 were pretty bland and expansion was too simple so I like the direction this statement suggests SR2's development is moving in.

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #36 on: January 24, 2014, 11:31:38 PM »
The economy of SR1 initially bothered me because every planet added its surplus toward a magical bank, where my resources could persist outside of time and space (regardless of distance and storage impossibilities). But I got used to it. It was the same as almost every other RTS's magical bag of holding. I learned to enjoy pulling a billion resources in less than a minute, when the need arose. Will this feature be continued in SR2 or will resources exist only in local storage, shared between trade lanes? Maybe the universal bank could be toggled at the start of a game, to appease both sensibilities.

I also hold reservations about the depiction of resources themselves. How many square feet of farmland is required to feed a person? Let's hypothetically say 100 sqft. is enough. How many of those gardens can be built over a 100sqft. area? Is it not obviously one? Technology between 1975 and 1985 allowed for 110, vertical stories. With modern technology the answer is 163 vertical stories, and really no limits in the future. Hydro/Aero-ponic technology coupled with climate and light control and automated labor could realistically compete with traditional farming industries. Imagine just one city block sized skyscraper converted into a hydroponics farm and how many people it could continuously feed. Please don't say that my Paldinians with space-faring technology are incapable of feeding multiple planets of equivalent population, simultaneously. There is a finite supply of uranium, sure; but not foodstuffs. Industrial capacity to produce firearms and munitions, sure; but not fruits and vegetables.

I'm worried how difficult it will be to balance the trade routes, and how time consuming it will be to set them up even with the blindest inefficiency. But that seems like an obvious problem, so I have full faith that you guys will make sure they do not interfere with actually playing the game.
~Wayne

GGLucas

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #37 on: January 25, 2014, 12:38:01 AM »
Quote
Will this feature be continued in SR2 or will resources exist only in local storage, shared between trade lanes?

It all varies. The planetary resources will be directed with trade lanes, there are some resources (labor, defense) that are linked to individual planets in different ways, and there are a few "incomes" that are global: things like research and the money in your imperial budget. Everything works differently.

Quote
Imagine just one city block sized skyscraper converted into a hydroponics farm and how many people it could continuously feed.

Our mechanics around this are still in flux, so take my examples as completely un-final, but even in our alpha right now we have megafarms that can be built on planets to create food separate from finding it on other worlds, and there is a Designation (like a planet upgrade of sorts) literally called "Hydroponics" for eliminating the need for food on that planet altogether. We do understand your concerns, but importing food actually makes for a pretty fun mechanic.

Quote
I'm worried how difficult it will be to balance the trade routes, and how time consuming it will be to set them up even with the blindest inefficiency.

Part of the game is filling in the trade line "puzzle". A big goal here is to make it relatively easy to set up basic planets that net you resources, but to make spending time and figuring out more complicated things give you big benefits. We think using the resource trade system will be fun, but if you don't think so yourself rest assured you don't need to spend all your time using it.

Panpiper

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #38 on: March 02, 2014, 08:03:11 AM »
Sorry for being late to this discussion.

Hmm, the ship design and scaling sensibilities of the first game put me off it...

!!!

The ship design system of Star Ruler 1 is in my opinion the single best ship design system I have ever seen in a computer game. I go so far as to point other game developers to it as an example of how to do it right.

Njordin

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Re: Dev Diary #1: The Galactic Economy
« Reply #39 on: July 18, 2014, 01:40:21 AM »
second that ^