Author Topic: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept  (Read 2376 times)

Azalrion

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GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« on: November 06, 2012, 11:13:01 AM »
So I’ve been hinting at this for a while, what is exploration in Galactic Armory 2.0 and how do we do it? I must say first off that this is still in flux even in the process of writing this blog I’ve come across things that were missing and concepts that needed some revision. Now with all that over let’s crack on.


What’s being changed?

As most of you will be aware in previous versions of GA and vanilla Star Ruler exploration is the simple act of building a lot of tiny scouts and pressing “X” or giving them an explore command and as soon as they reach a new system you know everything about that system and what’s inside it. This we are aiming to change. There are certain limitations in what we can achieve and due to this our concept of exploration is directly related to planets and the gaining of information on their conditions and attributes. This has led there to being two stages of exploration:

1.   Scouting of a system.
2.   Exploration of a planet.

Scouting will be very much like the current implementation in which a ship has to be sent to the system to be able to see what objects that system holds as in the original method but limited information will be provided when hovering your mouse over the planet and in the System Window (most likely its Classification and Number of Moons).

Exploration of a planet will be the new mechanic and will be a process that takes time that when fully completed will reveal all the information relating to the planet it is performed on when hovering your mouse over that planet and in the System Window.


How it works

Many suggestions in the thread discussing this were for modules based in orbit that gradually explored a planet however I wanted to try and avoid this, I didn’t want to force the need to keep a ship in orbital at all times especially with planets moving and the occasional problems that can cause with keeping that ship in position and so I took a different route.

Exploration as with all endeavors starts with a few good men and women, being introduced is a new resource known as Troops that will be generated on any planet with a specific structure and will provide the core of your exploration efforts. A ship can be equipped with Troop Quarters and a Survey Shuttle (working name) and be used the same way as any tool via Orders or Context Menu to start a new Exploration Mission on the target un-owned planet.

There is one last thing that should be mentioned before we go into the details of the Exploration Missions and that is the state of your Empire’s exploration attempt on a planet will impact your ability to colonize that planet successfully. I’ll explain this in more detail later on.


Exploration Missions

An Exploration Mission starts when a Survey Shuttle is used on an un-owned planet. Troops are taken from the original ship (the amount depends on the size of the shuttle, the number of troops available and the max number of troops allowed on an Exploration Mission) then deployed to the planet. The exploration process then begins.

The exploration process is that each planet will have a set number of successful expeditions that need to be completed by the survey party before that planet can be counted as explored and this will range between 90 and 120 with an expedition happening no more than once a second meaning that the quickest a planet can be explored is a minute and a half to two minutes which would require no failed expeditions at all.

An expedition is an attempt by the survey party to gain information about the planet and its success chance is based on a number of factors; Tech Levels, Planet Type, Planet Conditions and Expedition Type, all these aspects will affect the chance of success.

  • Tech Levels affects it in a fairly simple way in that in our new technology tree there are Techs which relate to Troops and Surveying and the higher the level the greater the success chance will be giving you a direct way to help affect and speed up the exploration process.
  • Planet Type is again fairly simple in that the more dangerous the planet (Lava, Ice, etc) the more dangerous it will be for your survey party.
  • Planet Conditions will again affect the chance but not always in a negative direction, depending on the condition that the Expedition encounters it may help or impede their chances again depending on whether it is a dangerous, benign or neutral condition.
  • Expedition Type is the tricky one and the most likely one to be dropped from the concept. The idea is that not all expeditions will be the same and a certain one might be easier or harder and have different consequences if failed. This is very much still a work in process.

If a mission is successful, then the planet’s exploration percentage is increased moving towards the state of being fully explored. However if a mission is failed there is a chance that some of the survey party may be lost reducing the amount of Troops available on the planet and if all Troops are lost then the Exploration Mission ends and the planet is fixed at the percentage explored until a new mission is launched or the planet is colonized (not necessarily by you).

To help counter this gradual loss of troops if a Survey Shuttle is used on a planet with an active Exploration Mission from your Empire then instead of a new Exploration Mission beginning the Troops are added to the existing one up to the Exploration Mission cap for Troops.

It should be mentioned that unlike how Boarding Parties currently work Troops will not be generated on the ship and will need to be collected from a planet if more are required and so the original ship can only support the mission as long as it has Troops available and will need to return to a planet for more if required.


Exploration Percentage

I mentioned earlier the exploration percentage and the number of expeditions to achieve 100% exploration and because it may take a long time to reach that (might not even be possible for certain planets without extremely good Tech) it was decided that instead of revealing everything at 100% it would be a gradual process with certain information being reveal at certain percentages and this percentage complete will directly affect the colonization interactions.


Colonization Effect

So how exactly does this percentage affect colonization? Well at the moment your chance of succeeding in a colonization attempt is affected by the percentage of the planet explored, the lower that percentage the more likely your attempt is to fail or lose so many colonists that it will take a lot of support or an extreme amount of time to evolve into a beneficial planet (there are aspects of our reworked economic and planet gameplay which affect this more than it would seem like from previous releases). You can of course attempt a brute force approach to colonization but this will be extremely risky to the health and ability of your Empire (again due to economic changes I will explain soon).

This means that it’s going to be easier to colonize more suitable planets than hazardous ones first making the expansion phase slower and more tactical than before.


An Enemy Is Here We Need Orders

What happens then if an Empire you’re at war with attempts an Exploration Mission or to colonize the planet your survey party is on? Well they are troops so we decided that their standing orders would be to sabotage and stop them at all costs.

For Exploration Missions once a second while both Empires have Troops available a skirmish will happen in which Troops from both sides are lost at a random percentage of the available troops affected by your Troop Tech Levels. This of course is again supportable by reinforcing your Troops, making control of the system in space extremely important to the survival of your Exploration Mission.

For colonization it is a bit trickier as we need to consider the number of civilians, what they might be able to arm themselves with, how well they could defend themselves, whether any Troops were deployed with the colonization mission. It is in flux at the moment but the basic mechanic is that unless there is sufficient strength in the colonization attempt it might fail outright or be captured by the Troops of the Exploration Mission for their Empire.


Any Life Signs Captain?

With hostile Exploration Missions having this affect there needs to be a way to tell if one is present on the planet, this is done simply by having a ship with an Analyzer present in the system and for human players this will then be visible when hovering your mouse over the planet or in the System Window.


100% Reached What Then?

Your Troops have performed beyond expectation and you have reached 100% explored on a planet, so what happens then? Well one major thing is that expeditions stop but your Troops remain on the planet deployed as an outpost.

Several things can happen in this state, they will still fight hostile colonization and Exploration Mission attempts until they are victorious or all lost (they can still be reinforced), they can be retrieved by a ship with Troop Quarters (as many as there is space for on the ship) until all Troops are removed from the planet or the planet may be colonized. If colonized by you they join the colony's Troops, if a neutral empire they are returned to your nearest planet and if an enemy they are either defend against the attempt or are lost as mentioned previously.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2013, 08:49:27 AM by XTRMNTR2K »
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MindsEye

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 10:34:57 PM »
Some very cool ideas. The troop outpost system is pretty cool. Sounds complicated especially for the ai. It definitely makes scouting much more interesting. Maybe consider that to establish an outpost would require the ship to stay in orbit till construction is done. Then the missions could start and the ship could leave. Or maybe a different option is to just send the team down on the shuttle and when the mission is over they take off and head home since there is no infrastructure there.

Azalrion

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012, 01:54:43 AM »
Maybe consider that to establish an outpost would require the ship to stay in orbit till construction is done. Then the missions could start and the ship could leave.

Defeats the whole bit I put in about not wanting to have to keep a ship in orbit due to the issues with movement and tools.

Quote
Or maybe a different option is to just send the team down on the shuttle and when the mission is over they take off and head home since there is no infrastructure there.

A few hundred people max with the right training don't need industrialized infrastructure to survive.  It also means that with these changes to expansion speed and other economic changes you'd be required to keep a fleet in orbit till you have the resources to colonize it. The entire expansion phase just doesn't work like it does at the moment and not just because of these changes, colonization isn't about how quickly you can spam the ships building a ship with a colonization module needs a firm decision behind it as it does have high costs and will impact the planet that builds it. Although having them remain will be re-evaluated come testing depending on how it plays.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 01:59:25 AM by Azalrion »
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Space Voyager

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2012, 03:22:02 AM »
Damn, I'll have to go over these notes carefully... So far it seems as though you're changing SR into best space strategy ever.

Darky

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2012, 03:30:59 AM »
This sounds nice but it isn't worth it because planets are mostly worthless they need a lot more slots and durability, make planets worth more and SR becomes a good game and not a colony ship spamfest. Increased planet quality and decreased planet count, that would make GA 2.0 truly awesome and you should consider it.

Azalrion

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2012, 03:46:40 AM »
Space - Thanks.

Darky - You need to re-read it carefully, several times I've mentioned that planets and the economy will be getting a massive overhaul and colonization will no longer be a "spam fest".
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 03:49:03 AM by Azalrion »
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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2012, 04:47:49 AM »
This sounds nice but it isn't worth it because planets are mostly worthless they need a lot more slots and durability, make planets worth more and SR becomes a good game and not a colony ship spamfest. Increased planet quality and decreased planet count, that would make GA 2.0 truly awesome and you should consider it.

Like Azalrion said, please re-read the entire text carefully. tl;dr won't get you much out of this (or anything at all), and it's really nicely explained. Now even *I* finally know what've been talking about recently! ;D

Have you also read our update on research yet? If not, I highly recommend it - it should give you an idea that the whole gameplay and feeling of 2.0 won't be anywhere near vanilla or current GA.

That aside, planet slot count is not an indicator for planet quality and usefulness. Increasing the slots just makes it more of a clickfest. Keep in mind we can go other routes as well - increase structure effectiveness while decreasing their number... or we could even remove planet slots completely from the game and do something else entirely.

Think outside the box and have a little faith in us, will ya? :D I can promise that we are definitely trying to avoid adding features to the game that are ultimately worthless. After all, that would mean more work for us! ;)

Darky

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2012, 03:19:37 PM »
Like Azalrion said, please re-read the entire text carefully. tl;dr won't get you much out of this (or anything at all), and it's really nicely explained. Now even *I* finally know what've been talking about recently! ;D

Have you also read our update on research yet? If not, I highly recommend it - it should give you an idea that the whole gameplay and feeling of 2.0 won't be anywhere near vanilla or current GA.

That aside, planet slot count is not an indicator for planet quality and usefulness. Increasing the slots just makes it more of a clickfest. Keep in mind we can go other routes as well - increase structure effectiveness while decreasing their number... or we could even remove planet slots completely from the game and do something else entirely.

Think outside the box and have a little faith in us, will ya? :D I can promise that we are definitely trying to avoid adding features to the game that are ultimately worthless. After all, that would mean more work for us! ;)

I do have faith in you, but not a big enough phone screen or a comfortable enough life to read articles in peace.

On the other hand, it is good to know that there are others who see what's wrong with the game and work to fix it. I trust your judgement, I just wanted to point things out.

Oh and it would be awesome if we could right click systems and pick which governor all their planets will have. I mostly do Research Worlds once I get a stable economy so that would be great.

Then again I don't know what you guys have in store for us so I can only hope for the best and wish you good luck.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 03:21:11 PM by Darky »

cause792

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2012, 03:33:01 PM »
Oh and it would be awesome if we could right click systems and pick which governor all their planets will have. I mostly do Research Worlds once I get a stable economy so that would be great.

Still kind of missing the point.
if we ever manage to implement everything as is envisioned, you should not have this problem. Every colony will count, every colony will be precious. Wars will be fought over habitable planets, decisions for governors for every colony will be  important.
Check out my Mirage shipset for Star ruler and Galactic Armory.
link under my name.

XTRMNTR2K

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2012, 03:34:52 PM »
Still kind of missing the point.
if we ever manage to implement everything as is envisioned, you should not have this problem. Every colony will count, every colony will be precious. Wars will be fought over habitable planets, decisions for governors for every colony will be  important.

That and spamming research colonies won't be an "I win"-button anymore (which is more or less explained in the first dev update).

Sorry.

MindsEye

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2012, 05:01:22 PM »
I really like the way you guys talk.

Darky

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2012, 01:58:15 AM »
I did get your point, hence:
Then again I don't know what you guys have in store for us so I can only hope for the best and wish you good luck.

I like the direction you are taking, your reading comprehension, not so much. Also I rarely ever win games, I just get bored of steamrollering seemingly infinite amounts of defenseless and worthless planets so I just call it a win and quit out of boredom.

Once again I like the direction you're taking and I am glad lower tech combat will actually be viable now. This game was great at combat but got too boring before large and effective fleets could be built, and I like how GA finally tackles that aspect of the game as well.

Njordin

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2012, 04:37:18 PM »
i love to read those dev updates, seems like SR is going to be a totally new game.

is auto-exploration planned for now?  maybe useful in mid or late game, if you have enough resources...


Azalrion

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2012, 05:51:32 AM »
is auto-exploration planned for now?  maybe useful in mid or late game, if you have enough resources...

Ehhh, its an iffy point. Technically yes it should work if you have your automation set up correctly with auto-explore and survey tool usage. It could get complicated in the need for troops and replenishment or collection of troops from a finished planet, so the full scope of how its going to work will be decided one I get some time to just sit down and test different methods.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 05:53:05 AM by Azalrion »
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ac_snowman

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2012, 09:18:41 PM »
This means that it’s going to be easier to colonize more suitable planets than hazardous ones first making the expansion phase slower and more tactical than before.

This alone is an awesome addition. 

Really excited about the ideas you've laid out here.  Exploration and colonization are really my favorite parts of a game and SR disappointed on that front.  Combining colonization effects of planet suitability/specials with some inventive tweaks to the tech tree that you're discussing and/or racial traits could have some really cool effects on the game experience. 

Jordanb716

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2012, 03:18:38 PM »
This sounds completely amazing and made me think of a few things:
The bit at the end about retrieving troops with an appropriate ship has me a bit worried about micromanagement. I prefer to set up systems to handle small tasks like that so i can focus on long term goals and ship building so I am the kind of person that loves using planetary governors for instance. So I thought up a potential system that I think would be complementary to the system outlined here but help reduce micro (hopefully it will be decent lol)

Have troops implemented as a resource tradeable through the galactic bank but not actually storeable there. All troops would be stored on planets and ships with "barracks" upgrades to increase capacity and of course some sort of troop training or manufacturing facility. This way military planets could be set up with large troop capacities and training/manufacturing ability so if a planet comes under attack or is colonized and needs troops they would automatically be drained where there is an excess to fill the hole without too much micro.

If a system came under determined attack it would become blockaded and troop flow and thus reinforcements would stop (unless of course the player brought in a ship with troops to break through the blockade to bring reinforcements) In addition this kind of troop transfer would require a space port and thus a decent level of established infrastructure (also bringing another option for an attacker to stem the tide of reinforcements).

Combine this with a decently long time for entrenched troops to be uprooted (personally I'd like it to take at the very least 10 minutes to take over a planet but maybe have a sliding modifier option for this?) and I get glorious visions of planets holding out despite the ships in orbit waiting for the blockade to be lifted for the counter attack etc.

I was also thinking about the effects of ship weapons on the planet below. For one I always thought it was kind of ridiculous that a fighter in orbit could attack with any level of effectiveness with a machinegun or rocket launcher. Perhaps an atmospheric damage reduction is in order? I also feel that orbital control should be a vital part of both attacking and defending a planet. Perhaps certain fighter class weapons could be usable or specially designed for killsat functions? Allowing them to attack enemy troops and infrastructure on planets both friendly and hostile without damaging your own troops, infrastructure, or the planet itself. Larger guns would of course be effective at this but less discriminatory.

Finally with all this talk of troops I hope you haven't forgotten about us robotic races that prefer to use inorganic troops over squishy meatbags? I hate having to use life support for boarding ships on what is supposed to be a robotic race.....

I wouldn't be surprised if you already considered all these ideas but hopefully something here will be of some use. Thanks for developing such a great mod!
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 03:20:30 PM by Jordanb716 »

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2013, 04:32:55 PM »
How will this effect the AI?

XTRMNTR2K

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Re: GA 2.0 Dev Update #2 - Exploration Concept
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2013, 04:38:09 PM »
How will this effect the AI?

With all changes planned for 2.0 the AI will require a complete rewrite.