Monday, 23 April 2012

Resource and Items Management

I have had to postpone starting the faction AI as I have been making some major changes to the way resources and items are managed.

When resources are collected such as when some asteroid ore gets processed at a refinery and refined into metal, it will no longer just vanish and get added to the resources total counter at the top of the screen. Instead the metal gets added to the colony inventory and will remain there until its used or moved to another location.


If you have seperate colonies for ore refining, equipment and ship production then you will need to transport the items they require between each of them rather than having your entire empires resources available invisibly no matter where they are being used.

All ships have at least a small cargo hold but I will also add new transport ships that can carry large volumes of cargo but will be quite fragile and defenseless.


This is how the transport orders screen currently looks. I would like to keep it as simple as possible, so I am not adding multiple waypoint settings and items will be seperated into different cargo catagories. If you really need to transport cargo both ways between planets you will need an extra transport ship with different orders although there shouldnt really be a need for this.

Something I am also experimenting with is requiring the "data" produced by research facilities on colonies to be transported back to your designated capital before the points can be spent on research projects.

Most of these changes are to discourage having well defended colonies that are isolated away from your main empire but still be fully functional.

Hopefully this should all make empire building a lot more complex and enjoyable and open up a lot of possibilities for features I would like to add in the future.

EDIT: This is all still subject to change as it may turn out to be no fun or requires too much micro-management.

11 comments:

  1. Bombasticator30 April 2012 04:16

    Keep up the awesome job!

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  2. it looks like avesome. But I stil didnt see carrier ships and fighters.

    Many, 4X games miss that detail.

    We players, don't want to see one man fighter ships to travell all across the galaxy. A fighter in a small cockpit flying over all the galaxy?

    Please don't forget the Carrier ships and carrier modules for big ships which support fighters at uncolonized or in enemy systems.

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    1. There will definitely be large carriers that hold fighters or possibly drones. Fighters and drones wont be able to warp to other sectors so must dock back at their carrier before it moves on.

      There will be plenty of modules to choose from including ones that can increase the effectiveness of a carriers fighters.

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  3. This is looking fantastic. I am going to be keeping an eye on this. If you need any alpha/beta testers ring me up.

    I have both PC (Win7) and Mac (10.7)

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  4. Hi Stuart,

    really liking the look of the game so far, after seeing a preview on Space Sector - looks like it has lots of exciting possibilities.

    In this blog entry you mention the need to ship ore and materials around your empire, does that mean your creating a sort of supply line system? as i like the sound of having to protect supplies to the front line.It also opens up loads of tactical options whereby you can cut off enemy supplies with embargos etc.

    another quick question, if i may, you mention in the FAQ you can take control of iduvidual ships - do you simply mean you can click and assign orders to ships induviually, or do you mean take control in a more tactical sense?

    thanks and good luck

    Tony

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    Replies
    1. Hi, I am still experimenting with requiring all the resources to be transported to each planet but I may need to reconsider the idea. In the larger games its a lot to keep track of and takes too much time to set up all the transport routes to be enjoyable.

      You can assign orders for all the ships you own as well as taking full control of a single ship at anytime where you move, target enemies and use modules manually. The controls along the bottom of the screen are for the ship you are currently in control of. Probably need to add some hint on the screen showing the location of the ship you are controlling as its sometimes hard to spot in a big battle...

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    2. Actually thinking about it, you're right. Looking at the possible size of the map it would be a task in its own right to set up all the transports!.

      Maybe some sort of deployable supply hub, which would transfer and recieve materials automatically without having to set induvidual transports? and you could always set it to only move resources if there is a 'clear run' between the two hubs - so you can still block supply routes etc.

      Anyways, looking forward to the next updates :) i like the projectile and area effet wepons !

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  5. Hi Stuart, I have an idea on how you could still achieve the 'living galaxy' resource system. Have the player chose when they settle a planet if its going to be a:

    Resource Collection
    Component Production
    Shipyard World

    Or any other combination/more/less that you would be happy with. The system would, spawn/build from basic resources the transport ships and via pathing and least cost routing between production worlds, move the resources.

    IE, if a resource world has component building worlds at 4 systems distance and a component/shipyard world at 3 hops the transport would go to the component/shipyard.
    Or
    If a resource or component worlds have multiple logical next step delivery world at equal distance, the system would split the transport loads into equal deliverables.
    Or
    If a component or shipyard world is downgraded the transports from that world would, via the same logic above start moving the stored components or ship parts to the nearest logic driven system.
    This system would also allow for ‘on the fly’ re-configuring of the players empire, the player would just have to wait for the ripple effect to finish as transports move the resources, components, ship parts to their new location.

    This way the player would have a strategic and empire building layer around deciding the layout of their empire and how they are going to structure their economy. What do you think?

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    1. Hi, not sure that I understand your idea in full detail but its sort of how it works at the moment where each colony is used for a specific purpose (mining, refining, building, research etc..) but the player has to build transport/escort ships and assign orders for them manually instead of it all being entirely automated.

      Some of the problems I'm finding with the resource transporting system currently:

      - Takes time to build replacement transport/escort ships when they are destroyed and give them orders

      - Destroyed transports can go unnoticed until you open up each individual colony interface screen and realise they have too much or few resources, especially in really big games/maps. (this will probably not be so much of a problem when I add the "event alert" messages)

      - Needs a lot of extra interface screens with statistics for total empire resources and how much resources/transports each individual colony has etc...

      - I would rather not have any sort of automation in the game for ship construction and order assigning

      - Getting the AI to manage all of this efficiently if it gets too complex

      Solving these could lead to it all becoming a bit too complicated...

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    2. I am looking at this from a gamer's point of view not necessarily a coder's so keep this in mind.

      From what I can see, the aim is to (via the resource system):
      * Provide empire building and expansion
      * Drive a resource, component, ship construction economy
      * Allow the player to 'design' their empire, based on resource / component building / ship construction planets or systems.
      * Establish 'supply lines' of these resources that the player must defend.
      * Provide avenues of attack for the players that are strategic

      Without turning this into a micro game in itself, there is going to a need for a level of automation to assist the player. This may be in the form of:
      * Automated supply line generation & manually building supply that, via logic, start to 'work the supply lines'.
      * Automation of both supply lines and ship construction from a shipyard

      I can't see any other way to assist the player. Of cause with these automated systems a degree of initial player awareness will be required in the form or either tutorials, tool tips ect.

      I like the idea of your resourcing system, throwing ideas around to perhaps help out.

      Wilko

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  6. Do not forget if the supply line is automated the protection of it has to exist too. Ability to assign fighter squads to each transport run and all automated could work just superbly.

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