Author Topic: Colony X  (Read 4992 times)

Offline BinaryMan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Colony X
« on: May 18, 2009, 03:08:32 AM »
I've been working on an OP1-inspired game called Colony X (haven't for some time but interested in it again). The goal is to eventually have the features that were missing from the original game. Right now it's mostly statistics which isn't so much fun, but I hope to add some more features and building functions. Suggestions are welcome. The isometric tiling and most of the building art are implemented, and a basic test simulation.

Download it here:
Colony X Alpha Download

Planned features include:
- Multiple planet types like Ice, Volcano, Mars, Terran (plants), Desert, Water.
- Geothermal (finally), solar, fusion, fission power plants.
- Better explained tech tree (for instance, "+25% to food production")
- Environment matters; ignoring recycling and sustainable practices pollutes planet
- More obvious resource system, like Organics, Minerals, Radioactives
- Continuous range of resources on planet; mine any square
- Reduction of more or less useless building types; try to make them all have purpose
- More layers: underground/underwater, surface, sky, space.
- Shields, satellites, and other cool tech to protect you from natural disasters and perhaps the rebel colony
- Rebel colony won't roll over and die; it can be an enemy if set as such
- No more tubes; buildings have a range of connection and one type specifically to extend this range.
- Other fixes to gameplay or things that were tedious before
- Tick based time like simcity rather than turns; adjustable speed.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2009, 04:44:25 AM by BinaryMan »

Offline Sirbomber

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3175
Colony X
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2009, 07:04:43 AM »
A couple issues with this:
1) What's the difference between a "Mars" type planet and a "Desert" type planet?
2) About pollution... When you build a Spaceport in OP1, the newspaper mentions people complaining that it will cause pollution.  You (the commander) are quoted as responding that the planet HAS no appreciable atmosphere to pollute, which causes the protesters to disperse.
3) If "shields" mean energy shields, ultra-futuristic mainstream sci-fi garbage is generally a big no-no around here.  If you want protection from disasters get DIRTs.  And why do you need to defend yourself against the Rebels?  There's no combat in OP1.
4) Tubes are kinda important to the Outpost series.  If you want to make it so structures also act as tubes, that's fine, but don't get rid of tubes altogether.
5) Don't stray too far from what Outpost is supposed to be.
"As usual, colonist opinion is split between those who think the plague is a good idea, and those who are dying from it." - Outpost Evening Star

Outpost 2 Coding 101 Tutorials

Offline BinaryMan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Colony X
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2009, 10:47:14 AM »
1) Difference is primarily cosmetic; the tilesets and geography. Planets with water and planets with geothermal vents are the differences that affect the gameplay.

2) Air pollution may not be a concern given the scale of a colony on a planet, but solid waste could certainly be an issue. Either of these, if not disposed of properly, would lead to pollution within the colony itself which is the relevant pollution I am talking about.

3) Any barrier really, even a wall to protect against sand storms. Disasters never seemed to be implemented and it's probably an important aspect to the game. If the rebels exist at all, what is their purpose? Perhaps to steal resources or compete for resource hotspots? More devious: they send a virus? Bomb a building? Maybe if you're on good terms they trade with you. In OP1 it was far too easy to capture them and they seemed to serve no purpose.

4) Whether or not tubes actually add any fun to the game I don't know. Perhaps it's only to have some connection that could be disrupted by the disasters.

5) In trying to add new features and some that were left out, not sure how it will turn out. I'm sure it will need to be tested.

Offline croxis

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 147
    • http://croxis.net
Colony X
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2009, 01:05:20 PM »
2) Pollution can also be an issue with early teraforming attempts
4) For the life of me I can not figure out why tubes were designed as they were in Outpost. It may be with how the structure connection checking code was designed, who knows.  Tubes should have use, but shouldn't be required like it is in Outpost
5) A great source would be some of the previews of Outpost, such as the 1994 pc gamer review.
David - Proud to be saving the universe sense 1984
Open Outpost developer.  Project Page | Forum Thread

Offline Spikerocks101

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 720
Colony X
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 08:18:04 AM »
4) Tubes, Imo, should only be needed if a building is x amount of sqares away from a building, not in tiny city. Used to connect 2 cities. Buildings not connected by tubes when a sandstorm or something hits, should have palinties, like citezens dying.
I AM YOUR PET ROCK!!!!!!

Offline Sirbomber

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3175
Colony X
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 09:40:36 AM »
Quote
4) Tubes, in my opinion, should only be needed if a building is x amount of squares away from another building, but should not be needed for a tiny colony.  Tubes should be used to connect two or more colonies.  Buildings should not be required to have tube connections.  However, when a disaster hits, there should be certain penalties for buildings not connected via the tube network, like citizens dying.
Looks like somebody totally missed the point of what Outpost is supposed to be.
Maybe on Earth you can just go outside and walk to wherever you need to go, but in a hostile environment you die if you do that.  The colony is an enclosed environment to ensure there is a comfortable (pressure, temperature, etc.) and breathable atmosphere for the population, as well as to offer protection from disasters.  Sure, you COULD just force your entire population to put on an EVA suit and walk everywhere, but you'd better pray to your preferred deity that a solar flare doesn't irradiate all of humanity because you were too lazy to build a few tubes.

Oh, and the Monorail is used to connected distant colonies, not tubes.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 09:44:51 AM by Sirbomber »
"As usual, colonist opinion is split between those who think the plague is a good idea, and those who are dying from it." - Outpost Evening Star

Outpost 2 Coding 101 Tutorials

Offline BinaryMan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Colony X
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2009, 02:07:26 AM »
I should probably ask the people who have been thinking about modifications to OP1 longer than me their opinions on these ideas:

(1) What are the most important features of OP1 that were desired but not implemented? (for example, I spent hours looking for geothermal vents originally on all planet types until I read that it didn't exist; also, solar power was extremely limited).

(2) Would a tick-based real-time mode with adjustable speed be desirable? This is in additional to a similar but turn based mode (essentially with each turn being a tick). Prevents having to press a turn button constantly.

(3) Is the disaster style of OP2 more appropriate, in that they have a physical presence and graphics? Should there be techs to protect against these at higher tech levels? Is it better to do damage to structures and not destroy them outright like in OP1 (give player a chance to repair)?

(4) What resource system makes the most sense? People have complained that Mineral A/B/C could just be "minerals" as it serves no gameplay purpose. I would like to include the ability to store food, water, power and even air with specific storage structures (or perhaps DIRT stores emergency supplies for a number of turns as part of its function).

(5) I think tubes are important, but building them can be tedious and distracting. Perhaps when constructing a building it will not be functional until the robo-diggers make an underground tube connection to existing structures or tubes? The player can make tubes manually for strategic reasons too.

(6) In OP1 some buildings were surface and some underground. Surface structures are more vulnerable to disasters, but there could be some like earthquakes that affect underground too. I'm thinking of making most buildings surface; perhaps there could be an underground version that is more protected but expensive to build.

(7) More detailed population model? I had considered showing the number of people at each age so you could watch them age and grow. Birth and mortality should be more detailed (like, how did a person die so you can fix it, and tech affects it). How about more job groups than worker/scientist?

(8) Lack of resources reduces building production, but doesn't disable random buildings. This gives the player some warning and wiggle room when going over capacity or missing resources. Having untrained adult workers is less efficient than having workers trained in a specific area such as science, administration, the arts, or police force.

(9) In OP1, morale was easy to max and many buildings were redundant for that purpose. I am considering a system where as the colony grows they demand more types of entertainment etc, so you have to consider new enrichment structures rather than spamming one type like recreation center or park. This will give purpose to the commercial center and non-industrial factories (commercial products) also since you need multiple products to keep people happy too.

(10) I think I will use a system like in OP2 where you launch satellites because there was research for it but nothing happened and I would like a space layer as the colony advances. These advanced techs could provide many benefits to the colony.

(11) Basic research boosts the general tech level which allows more advanced techs to be researched. You won't be making a research bee-line to nanotech, but working with the pool of techs around your current level generally.

(12) I might get criticized for this, but I believe that the micromanagement of labs/factories wasn't that much fun despite being a large part of OP1. I would rather have the items and techs in a list and assign priorities for all the buildings with macromanagement. The focus should be on managing the overall colony.

(13) Improved interface. Opening a bunch of building windows to see how the colony is doing is primitive. The important stuff should be easily accessible and visible in the interface.

(14) Multiple colonies. What role does it play and why would we want to build more than one? Should the player be making colonies in multiple maps that work together (for instance, resources are limited on each map section)? If there are more than one planets in the solar system, could they all be colonized and each offer unique resources or benefits to the player?

(15) Any new buildings that should be added not in the original game?

(16) Power sources? Obviously tech changes this, but having the Tokamak (more dangerous) and basic solar panels (less efficient) at the beginning as items taken with the ship is good. Some basic research is needed to manufacture them. The solar satellite + recieving attena is a more advanced technology, as is geothermal (although geothermal is actually low tech?). Fusion or some other source could exist too. Both the solar satellite and fusion are futuristic but realistic techs.

(17) Things don't spontaneously explode (usually), although buildings do have wear and need to be repaired. Having Tokamaks, Hot Labs, and Nanotechs explode were all very irritating and a DIRT did nothing to stop this, especially on the hard mode. I can make a case for a poorly maintained Tokamak leaking radiation, and perhaps the hot lab exploding during a dangerous experiment, but generally not if well maintained and protected.

(18) Trying to do anything in space will most likely fail without trained people. You need your own NASA basically.

Offline Sirbomber

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3175
Colony X
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2009, 05:40:43 AM »
About the underground stuff, it's there for a reason.  Because the underground is more protected from the dangers of a hostile environment, structures like Residences and Parks are built there to minimize the chance of them being destroyed (along with the people inside).

About population:  What is this, The Sims?  If I wanna play a lame game about artificial people, I'll play that.  Leave the system the way it is, and don't go giving each individual person an age.  Also, about specialized colonists...  Something similar was suggested for one of the OP3 and was not liked.  It sounds cruel, but colonists are a resource for you to use in whatever way you deem fit.  Giving them "specializations" limits their ability to be reassigned in case of a crisis.  This also thwarts your "you need highly-trained space people" idea.

I think the player would be able to tell when he/she/it was running out of resources better not if the build list emptied randomly but if there was a resources display so the player would know how much of each resource (food and people included) were available.

And what are you talking about, Solar Power being limited?  I've never needed more than one to power my entire colony forever.

Tubes: If a building is not connected to the main colony by being adjacent to either a tube or another building, then it should be disabled.  No magical auto-building underground tubes.

While the Space Layer may be neato, what would you do there?

I hate setting "priorities" and leaving the game's AI to figure out what's best to do since it always messes it up.  How about you implement a research/production queue at labs and factories (giving a "build this item until told to stop" option for factories)?

That's all for now.
"As usual, colonist opinion is split between those who think the plague is a good idea, and those who are dying from it." - Outpost Evening Star

Outpost 2 Coding 101 Tutorials

Offline croxis

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 147
    • http://croxis.net
Colony X
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2009, 11:10:12 AM »
Quote
(1) What are the most important features of OP1 that were desired but not implemented? (for example, I spent hours looking for geothermal vents originally on all planet types until I read that it didn't exist; also, solar power was extremely limited).

I suggest reading and looking at the screenshots  here and here.  Mining looks very different than what was actually implemented.  Based on my notes for the OO roadmap the following features are inthe manual but missing in the game: Geothermal power, plagues, airbots, and a semi intelligent ai manager.

Quote
(2) Would a tick-based real-time mode with adjustable speed be desirable? This is in additional to a similar but turn based mode (essentially with each turn being a tick). Prevents having to press a turn button constantly.

I have considered that myself.  Some changes will be needed.  In turn base a turn represents all the actions in a unit of time that are committed at once (in my case a month). This allows for a lot of abstraction in the simulation. For a real time system there will need to be a quite a few changes to how the simulation operates.

Quote
(3) Is the disaster style of OP2 more appropriate, in that they have a physical presence and graphics? Should there be techs to protect against these at higher tech levels? Is it better to do damage to structures and not destroy them outright like in OP1 (give player a chance to repair)?

It depends on the disaster.  With turn based abstraction there would be no gameplay reason to represent short scale events on the map.  Multi turn events should.  OP1 does have some techs to protect the colony structures from destruction, although further enhancements can be made.  Your suggestions can work however it needs to fir in the context of other gameplay elements as well.


Quote
(4) What resource system makes the most sense? People have complained that Mineral A/B/C could just be "minerals" as it serves no gameplay purpose. I would like to include the ability to store food, water, power and even air with specific storage structures (or perhaps DIRT stores emergency supplies for a number of turns as part of its function).

The screenshots i linked suggest there was a more robust resource system than what we got.  I know food was also stored in specific structures in OP1, it would make sense the other types can be stored as well.

Quote
(5) I think tubes are important, but building them can be tedious and distracting. Perhaps when constructing a building it will not be functional until the robo-diggers make an underground tube connection to existing structures or tubes? The player can make tubes manually for strategic reasons too.

Here is my design:  Structures under construction do not pass the connection flag, so mass construction will require tubes to support the construction.  Tubes also allow anything using pathfining (like trucks), to go over them while not through buildings.  Another proposal is that each connection has a limited amount of "bandwidth" of lifesupport and power, and tubes will have higher bandwidth than structures will for conducting power.  If there is a gameplay reason that supports keeping structures apart  then there is another reason for tubes.

Quote
(6) In OP1 some buildings were surface and some underground. Surface structures are more vulnerable to disasters, but there could be some like earthquakes that affect underground too. I'm thinking of making most buildings surface; perhaps there could be an underground version that is more protected but expensive to build.

Underground is very expensive.  However many bodies, such as asteroids, moons, and some planets, lack a magnetic field/atmosphere.  This will require surface buildings to have a great deal of shielding to protect the population from radiation damage, so in these cases it makes sense to be underground.  Temperature is also an issue.  The subsurface of Venus will be a lot more hospitable than its surface

Quote
(7) More detailed population model? I had considered showing the number of people at each age so you could watch them age and grow. Birth and mortality should be more detailed (like, how did a person die so you can fix it, and tech affects it). How about more job groups than worker/scientist?

Without the source code to know for sure, OP1 may of very well did this but abstracted it out to the end user.  I'm already doing this in OO, each person is an instance of a Person class.  End of turn function iterates through each person, and provide the details you describe.  In the long term plan I also want to implement social engineering, where the player can set laws if they wish on how the simulated people behave (breeding programs, eugenics, and such) on a per colony basis.

Quote
(8) Lack of resources reduces building production, but doesn't disable random buildings. This gives the player some warning and wiggle room when going over capacity or missing resources. Having untrained adult workers is less efficient than having workers trained in a specific area such as science, administration, the arts, or police force.

I think efficency is a mechanic that can help, but better UI and data presentation would be better than to make the game "more easy"

Quote
(9) In OP1, morale was easy to max and many buildings were redundant for that purpose. I am considering a system where as the colony grows they demand more types of entertainment etc, so you have to consider new enrichment structures rather than spamming one type like recreation center or park. This will give purpose to the commercial center and non-industrial factories (commercial products) also since you need multiple products to keep people happy too.

If you track each person you can also do individual moral in addition to the colony stats.  This will create a lot more variation, especally if some kind of personality and interests are simulated at the individual level.

Quote
(10) I think I will use a system like in OP2 where you launch satellites because there was research for it but nothing happened and I would like a space layer as the colony advances. These advanced techs could provide many benefits to the colony.

Other than a SMAC style space layer, I am not sure much can be done here.

Quote
(11) Basic research boosts the general tech level which allows more advanced techs to be researched. You won't be making a research bee-line to nanotech, but working with the pool of techs around your current level generally.

Excellent idea, this reflects real life as well.  Basic research can also be broken up into a few subsections, but focusing too much basic research in one field will cause diminishing returns.

Quote
(12) I might get criticized for this, but I believe that the micromanagement of labs/factories wasn't that much fun despite being a large part of OP1. I would rather have the items and techs in a list and assign priorities for all the buildings with macromanagement. The focus should be on managing the overall colony.

Possible implementation: each lab structure has x number of bench space that is totaled up for the whole colony.  The player then selects what they wish to research and how many bench space units to commit to it.  Some bench spaces could be specialized, due to building type or renovation, giving bonuses to the research that the bench is specialized for, but  slower speed if the research type doesn't match.

[quote[(13) Improved interface. Opening a bunch of building windows to see how the colony is doing is primitive. The important stuff should be easily accessible and visible in the interface.[/quote]
A lot of basic information should be visible to the player without needing to open any window.  A player should tell if a building is online or not just by looking at the graphic.

Quote
(14) Multiple colonies. What role does it play and why would we want to build more than one? Should the player be making colonies in multiple maps that work together (for instance, resources are limited on each map section)? If there are more than one planets in the solar system, could they all be colonized and each offer unique resources or benefits to the player?

That is what I am doing :)
Not having eggs in one basic is the first.  Having different resources concentrated around the map helps.  The main goal of the game is the survivability of the human race, the goal should be making people.

Quote
(15) Any new buildings that should be added not in the original game?
Too many buildings can be problematic.  As a player I get overwhelmed when I have too many choices.  Each building should do something specific and have a definitive unique role.

Quote
(16) Power sources? Obviously tech changes this, but having the Tokamak (more dangerous) and basic solar panels (less efficient) at the beginning as items taken with the ship is good. Some basic research is needed to manufacture them. The solar satellite + recieving attena is a more advanced technology, as is geothermal (although geothermal is actually low tech?). Fusion or some other source could exist too. Both the solar satellite and fusion are futuristic but realistic techs.

Other than solar, all our power is produced from water spinning a turbine, even fission and fusion -- they are just acting as heat sources.  Tokamak is fusion fyi ;)  The ideal is to find technology that can get electrons moving without moving parts, such as solar power.

Quote
(18) Trying to do anything in space will most likely fail without trained people. You need your own NASA basically.
 Which is what you esentially brought!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2009, 11:11:13 AM by croxis »
David - Proud to be saving the universe sense 1984
Open Outpost developer.  Project Page | Forum Thread

Offline BinaryMan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Colony X
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2009, 05:41:06 PM »
I suggest reading and looking at the screenshots  here and here.  Mining looks very different than what was actually implemented.  Based on my notes for the OO roadmap the following features are inthe manual but missing in the game: Geothermal power, plagues, airbots, and a semi intelligent ai manager.

Yeah I looked at those as a sort of inspiration. Is "OO" one of the projects? I remember there were a couple of remake attempts. I already have geothermal planned as I was disappointed not to have it in OP1. I'm not sure about how the AI managers really fit into the game. Perhaps to manage colonies that are mature while you go build another one? It's kind of useless to build an unlimited number of say agridomes.

In turn base a turn represents all the actions in a unit of time that are committed at once (in my case a month). This allows for a lot of abstraction in the simulation. For a real time system there will need to be a quite a few changes to how the simulation operates.

The time scale has to be short enough to have an effect, but long enough that structures would get built. If one "turn" is a month, it makes sense for the population model and the building model. However, showing robots moving doesn't fit well into that model. There's something abstract about the trucks moving in the background. At least with a month tick unit it's not relevant, since we assume the ore was moved to the smelter, but if you lose the operation of food, water, or air, one turn would be death to everyone, so there's a bit of fudging there to give the player a chance to respond (how about: resource priority on the CHAP facility and basic structures, rather than random ones or the order they are built in).

With turn based abstraction there would be no gameplay reason to represent short scale events on the map.  Multi turn events should.  OP1 does have some techs to protect the colony structures from destruction, although further enhancements can be made.  Your suggestions can work however it needs to for in the context of other gameplay elements as well.

I guess maybe showing say a storm or earthquake location on the turn it happens is good since the player needs to respond to damage. Plauge and more extended disasters would play out differently but I think good visuals can communicate how it's progressing.

The screenshots i linked suggest there was a more robust resource system than what we got.  I know food was also stored in specific structures in OP1, it would make sense the other types can be stored as well.

The idea is to develop it more but not necessarily make it more complicated. Grouping resources might make more sense for display on the interface. The question is whether Organics, Minerals/Metals, and Radioactives is broad enough to cover it or if there is a better system. Air/Food/Water are pretty obvious. I would try to make them different enough that they don't serve a redundant purpose.

Here is my design:  Structures under construction do not pass the connection flag, so mass construction will require tubes to support the construction.  Tubes also allow anything using pathfining (like trucks), to go over them while not through buildings.  Another proposal is that each connection has a limited amount of "bandwidth" of lifesupport and power, and tubes will have higher bandwidth than structures will for conducting power.  If there is a gameplay reason that supports keeping structures apart  then there is another reason for tubes.

Perhaps the tubes auto-build when needed, but at a great distance it will take longer to start construction of the building as it waits for a tube connection, or the construction will be much slower. Clustering power plants or CHAPs might not be efficient because of distance penalities as well, so spreading out support structures properly adds a challenge.

Underground is very expensive.  However many bodies, such as asteroids, moons, and some planets, lack a magnetic field/atmosphere.  This will require surface buildings to have a great deal of shielding to protect the population from radiation damage, so in these cases it makes sense to be underground.  Temperature is also an issue.  The subsurface of Venus will be a lot more hospitable than its surface

Perhaps the time it takes to dig out room is much higher so the player really has to think about what to put there. I guess tubes don't need their own layer if they don't get in the way. OP2 does a good job of this. OP1 has a clunky tube logic (you can't build over them, and you have to place them pretty much every other building).

Without the source code to know for sure, OP1 may of very well did this but abstracted it out to the end user.  I'm already doing this in OO, each person is an instance of a Person class.  End of turn function iterates through each person, and provide the details you describe.  In the long term plan I also want to implement social engineering, where the player can set laws if they wish on how the simulated people behave (breeding programs, eugenics, and such) on a per colony basis.

Since Outpost is all about the people of the colony, it's a good idea. Figure if you have police stations you need a crime model too lol, then you need some kind of law center. Not at the start of course, but later on.

I think efficency is a mechanic that can help, but better UI and data presentation would be better than to make the game "more easy"

I think it should be easier to do common tasks, but that's interface design mostly. Knowing how things are going at a glance is important to this game. Even OP2 didn't do that good of a job with presenting the information (lots of clicking to get the data).

If you track each person you can also do individual moral in addition to the colony stats.  This will create a lot more variation, especally if some kind of personality and interests are simulated at the individual level.

That's more complicated than I know right now; not sure how that would be done. Perhaps just each person "wants" a certain set of products and services which generates the demand for those buildings/items.

Other than a SMAC style space layer, I am not sure much can be done here.

What I mean is you build and launch your things; you start with satellites, and work your way toward making a colony in space which can interact with all the colonies on the surface. Resource-intensive, but you can only research some things in space.

Possible implementation: each lab structure has x number of bench space that is totaled up for the whole colony.  The player then selects what they wish to research and how many bench space units to commit to it.  Some bench spaces could be specialized, due to building type or renovation, giving bonuses to the research that the bench is specialized for, but  slower speed if the research type doesn't match.

I was just going to let the player assign a number of techs in a queue. Queueing is important I think to prevent idle labs. Specialized research facilities is an option.

Having different resources concentrated around the map helps.  The main goal of the game is the survivability of the human race, the goal should be making people.

If the planet is volatile, there might be a good chance of losing a colony to a disaster. Thus it is needed to build many colonies for stability. Expansion might be needed for resources too since they aren't unlimited. OP2 makes a good example of having several nodes with command centers to exploit resource-dense locations.

Other than solar, all our power is produced from water spinning a turbine, even fission and fusion -- they are just acting as heat sources.  Tokamak is fusion fyi ;)  The ideal is to find technology that can get electrons moving without moving parts, such as solar power.

I looked it up; I had thought Tokamak was just a foreign name for a fission reactor, but you're right. My intention was to bring along a nuclear reactor and solar cells and research all power stations. Geothermal is planet-specific as to how well it works (actually, solar is too). Nuclear is consistent if you have the fuel, but dangerous if it gets hit in a disaster. Fusion is safe since it stops immediately if containment is broken, but is higher up the tech tree.

Offline Sirbomber

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3175
Colony X
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2009, 07:29:55 PM »
OO probably refers to Open Outpost, his own OP1 remake attempt.  And this is the future, fission (nuclear) power is ancient crap used in the 20th and early 21st century.  Fussion is cheap and available now in the (mid to late?) 21st century.

CHAPs produce both air and water; they're something you either have or you're dead.  I don't know why you'd bother looking for water on the planet/underground, unless you were interested in finding alien microbes or something.

And since my last post seems to have been ignored, I'll repeat myself.  This game isn't about the colonists, it's about the colony.  Colonists are a resource; nothing more and nothing less, and if they're alive and not rebelling against you, it's been a good day.  Don't over-complicate the game by adding useless stuff just because you think it's "cool."
"As usual, colonist opinion is split between those who think the plague is a good idea, and those who are dying from it." - Outpost Evening Star

Outpost 2 Coding 101 Tutorials

Offline croxis

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 147
    • http://croxis.net
Colony X
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2009, 08:37:11 PM »
It was ignored because I firmly believe you are wrong about simulating individual colonists.  All my design decisions are based around the idea of ensuring the survival of the human race.  Colony management is part of that, and colonies are filled with colonists!
David - Proud to be saving the universe sense 1984
Open Outpost developer.  Project Page | Forum Thread

Offline Sirbomber

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3175
Colony X
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2009, 09:12:01 PM »
You're serious, aren't you?

These aren't real people we're talking about.  When a message pops up saying "Colony 1 has lost 1 Colonist(s)" nobody cares as long as more colonists were born to replace the one that died.  "Ensuring the survival of the human race," as you say, depends solely on you, the Commander, not any single individual colonist.  This is why it's important you spend your time managing the colony and not wasting your precious time dealing with colonists on a super-detailed, individual level.  You focus on the colonists too much then this is going to become "The Sims" in space.
"As usual, colonist opinion is split between those who think the plague is a good idea, and those who are dying from it." - Outpost Evening Star

Outpost 2 Coding 101 Tutorials

Offline croxis

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 147
    • http://croxis.net
Colony X
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2009, 07:27:39 AM »
I will render this down to one sentence before a more lengthy explanation.

It is easier to create a more realistic and predictable simulation if individual colonists are simulated.

The only one talking about a sims in space is you.  There is a significant difference between the sims and

Code: [Select]
class Colonist:
    def endTurn(self):
        stuff

class Colony:
    def endTurn(self):
        for colonist in self.colonists:
            colonist.endTurn()

No one ever said anything about making individuals important.  *re-skims thread*   yup, no  one said it so I have no idea where you pulled that idea from.  If one colonist died, I would like to know why he died, or what factors contributed to its death, if it was lack of air, from childbirth and poor medical access, just old age? It would be very informative to colony management.

Outpost has a high level of abstraction presented to the player. There is a difference between what the player sees and what goes on under the hood.  Outpost could of VERY WELL ALREADY BE DOING WHAT I DESCRIBED.  Object oriented programming did exist when Outpost was made.

Lastly, Open Outpost is open source for a reason.  If anyone wants to join up as a dev they can, but you can also make your own branch of it.  Don't like my colonist simulation? Rip out the code you dont like and put in whatever your heart desires.
David - Proud to be saving the universe sense 1984
Open Outpost developer.  Project Page | Forum Thread

Offline Sirbomber

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3175
Colony X
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2009, 09:46:50 AM »
Okay, fine, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but a "more detailed population model" is bad.  We've already got at least 5 different types of people, and it's hard enough to keep track of 'em all without adding special worker/scientist variants and age groups outside of the ones that already exist will just make people worry that their population is getting too old.  And about instituting laws and social programs... Let the colonists manage themselves.  They do it well enough without the player getting in the way.  I guess my point is that this is a game; not a NASA simulation.  Leave some room for the player to have fun without getting swallowed in details nobody cares about.

And why do you need to know why someone died?  Most are just natural deaths: old age, accidents, disease, disasters, or whatever.  You gave the examples "lack of medical care" and "lack of oxygen" in your last post.  You shouldn't need to be told people are dying due to poor healthcare, you should be warned before people start dying!  For lack of food/air, getting the message "everybody died because we forgot to warn you we ran out of food last year" is just poor game design.  This is why OP2 has a "Medical Center demand" meter and audio messages warning you when food is running low; so you can fix those problems before it becomes too late, which is impossible if the deaths have already started.
"As usual, colonist opinion is split between those who think the plague is a good idea, and those who are dying from it." - Outpost Evening Star

Outpost 2 Coding 101 Tutorials

Offline BinaryMan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Colony X
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2009, 06:01:48 PM »
I looked at the OO project site. I've worked with Python somewhat, and you will find that iteration code can be really slow with a large number of colonists. Of course, this can be optimized as needed and isn't an issue yet. Python has an easy way to profile code.

For some of the interface issues discussed, consider something like the horizontal bars shown in this picture as part of the main interface (that is, not something you have to click or select to get to). If your GFX library (Panda3D) is anything like PyGame, you should be able to render fonts and basic shapes to get something like this. The visual bar with say a lightning bolt for a power icon would help the user easily guage what's happening.

As far as the population model, I'm not suggesting you have to micromanage every colonist or the job categories; it's just a bonus to production when you put more time into it or give people what they desire. I think the "individual services wanted" idea makes sense to set demand for say recreation, but I'm not sure if the job categories add value. If you add job categories then add a macromanagement tool that basically trains the needed people, it doesn't really make sense to add it. If you don't have a tool and it's manually done, then the challenge I think is when you have to make a decision as to what you train people for which gives a bonus to those building types. A higher level approach to this might make more sense, like allocating sliders with a total of 100% bonus production amongst the various job types as the target training program (changing it takes time to re-train). This is a lot like social production capacity as a whole, where let's say you need more food so you train more farmers. It gives some wiggle room to your colony capacities in those areas.

As an example, I could allocate all 100% to food production, and it would be twice the normal amount, representing expert knowledge and education in that area and the higher efficiency it can bring to those structures. I could also put 25% bonus to food, 50% bonus to mining operations, and 25% bonus to labs. This could be used to create specialized colonies.

Offline croxis

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 147
    • http://croxis.net
Colony X
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2009, 09:59:24 PM »
I figure the iterative process will be slow, but being turn based there is some allowance for turn resolution time.  Regardless the simulation wont be terribly advanced, and I am sure when I get to that point I'll know a few extra programming tricks to use instead.  Also C/C++ works very well with python, so slow elements of the server can be rewritten into c libraries for speed.

Panda3d is a complete gaming library, UI, networking, sound, etc.  I'm using some other libraries for some stuff, and I am writing an extension to the UI so I can get it working how I want it.

When I was talking of visual I was thinking something similar to OP2, if the building has no light on then it is offline for some reason.  Of course this information should be detailed elsewhere.  Graphics are there to look pritty, but should also have function, and there can be a little bit more we can do with the graphics than just say what building is on that tile.

My idea for population management was something similar to a speadsheet with drop down menus.  You add a rule and then a series of drop down menus or forms such as:  if | IQ | is greater than | 150 | then | only breed with colonist with | IQ | greater than | 150.  In my mind it is bloody simple way to manage your colonist resource without micromanaging, and is optional.  The player can totally ignore it if they wish.

Other idea I dreamed up: If | Moral | is less than | 30 | then | kill. :P

My colonists WILL be happy, oh yes.

But I have... about 32 other major features (ie: ALL of the others I planed) before I get to that :P


Another small thought I had was removing the requirement to robodoze a terrain before building, and just incorporate the terrain type penalty into the build time.  The presence of a robodozer and maybe robobuilder may still be required, but instead of the player directly using them they just need to be available as a resource.  
« Last Edit: May 22, 2009, 10:06:19 PM by croxis »
David - Proud to be saving the universe sense 1984
Open Outpost developer.  Project Page | Forum Thread

Offline Sirbomber

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3175
Colony X
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2009, 07:23:51 AM »
Quote
if | IQ | is greater than | 150 | then | only breed with colonist with | IQ | greater than | 150.
 
You are one sick son of a *****, you know that?  What kind of monster makes a game that encourages the player to breed a master race?
« Last Edit: May 23, 2009, 07:24:03 AM by Sirbomber »
"As usual, colonist opinion is split between those who think the plague is a good idea, and those who are dying from it." - Outpost Evening Star

Outpost 2 Coding 101 Tutorials

Offline croxis

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 147
    • http://croxis.net
Colony X
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2009, 12:27:42 PM »
If we want to get into that argument what kind of monster makes a game where you are a street thug, running around stealing cars, killing police officers, and use prostitutes to recover health in GTA?  Or in DEFCON where the point of the game is to kill millions of people by nuking other people's cities?  Civilization where you can massacre another civilization? Fable, Black and white, bio shock, mass effect all brought in morality as actual gameplay mechanics.  Dungeons and dragons even had good and evil game mechanics.  Pot, meet kettle.

I'll explain the thinking process for you, because you obviously did not.

"Oh croxis has said many a time now and a few years ago that games must present 'interesting choices' to the player"
"This must means there are consequences to this social engineering thing"

Why yes sirbomber you are absolutely right, there would be harsh penalties for such things.  Setting morality aside for a second and just looking at gameplay, if I were to implement what you incorrectly assumed, why even bother presenting it as a choice to the player? I would just design the birth algorithms to do it automatically if there were to be no consequences.

To further illustrate your incorrect assumption I will describe, in detail, what can happen (both natural and hard coded) by doing some sort of breeding program (and the soc enginerring mechanic doesn't have to be so extreem.  You can just try and prevent your workers from moving to another colony for example.  Or make sure children get their share of the food before distributing the remainder to adults in the case of famine.)

So lets see what will happen to the colony of a sick monster trying to force an IQ breeding program.

* Harsh hard coded moral penalties (people don't like being told what to do)
* Hard coded penalties in your relationship to other rebel colonies
* The children of such forced breeding would be sicker and probably wont live as long, and this would be a natural result.  There is a reason why pure breeds of dogs and horses and such get sicker and die younger than their mutt couterparts.  
* More selective.  A high IQ colonist will have lower moral doing non high IQ work (outpost already models this to a lesser degree).  So if a worker shortage comes up you will see a sudden drop in moral and productivity.
* More selective.  The population manager code mates people up (for life by the way) and generally people will make with someone similar to themselves.  Breeding a super race will be a very selective race.  They will have a hard time finding a mate, and may just eventually die off on their own, weather or not any forced social engineering is still in place.

I just reasoned this out in 10 minutes, before I just had a rough idea that doing evil will have bad consequences but no specifics.

So, your short sighted personal attack aside (which basically will make me ignore anything constructive you might have to say later now that I've written you off as a idiot hiding behind that moderator badge of yours.  Just like games, choices we make in life have consequences), there is no encouragement here.  Just like all these other critically acclaimed games I cited in the first paragraph, social engineering comes with some benefits, and some consequences.  The harsher, more extreme, and more evil may provide some specific benefit, but it will also come and incredable cost.  

Now if you will excuse me, I think BinaryMan might like his thread back, and I have a GUI, the robots, redidence, health, saving/loading, mining, refining, factory, building resource concumption, moral, crime, research, spaceports, cargo/people transportation, roads, monorails, multi colony support, trading, disasters, multiplayer, geothemal power, plagues, exploration, prospecting, robot repair, airbots, teraforming, and AIs to implement first.
David - Proud to be saving the universe sense 1984
Open Outpost developer.  Project Page | Forum Thread

Offline Sirbomber

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3175
Colony X
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2009, 03:37:51 PM »
1) I'm not a mod.
2) You can't go around advocating Nazism[/i] and think you can get away with it by saying, "Oh, it's just a game" or blaming other games.
3) You think I care what you think about me, croxitler?
« Last Edit: May 23, 2009, 03:43:28 PM by Sirbomber »
"As usual, colonist opinion is split between those who think the plague is a good idea, and those who are dying from it." - Outpost Evening Star

Outpost 2 Coding 101 Tutorials

Offline BinaryMan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Colony X
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2009, 11:11:29 PM »
Anyway, about the training bonuses:

I think it's better to reward the player for taking the time to train colonists to specialize in some area (as decribed above) than to penalize them for not doing this. That's why I would make it a bonus. It still presents a choice to the player as to how to focus the colonists. The nice thing is you can change your focus over time with retraining. Technology can further boost the skills of the colonists. It could be important to focus on areas that are reduced by the planet for instance (like poor mining opportunities).

About desires:

For each colonist, they have a demand value for each product or service in the colony. It can be binary (they want it or not) or a random value from 0.0 to 1.0 that signifies how much demand (how much they actually use it). The total demand for each service is displayed to show total capacity vs. used capacity. The more desires are met, the higher the morale of the colony. A small colony cares mainly about basics like food, while a larger colony is more developed socially and will require some services (perhaps required even to reasonably expand beyond some point). This expands the simulation beyond basic needs and survival into the possibility of thriving as a society, requiring both extended research and construction to meet these desires.