Transcendence Era Technology

4X strategy game from Proxy Studios

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jdmillard
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Transcendence Era Technology

Post by jdmillard » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:01 pm

I know I'm not the first one to say this, but the Transcendence Era zips by way too quickly. The research points required for the techs in that era need to be scaled by 15. I know that might sound extreme, but it might need to be scaled even more than that... maybe 20. By the time you have a lot of population, a few cities dedicated to research, and the advanced research buildings, it's extremely easy to zip through the whole era. Since there are so many powerful techs in that era they should cost more research (they already cost "more", but the increase ought to be increased), causing players to pause and think about what tech they will choose next.

In my most recent game I was getting 1 tech per turn in this era. The only techs that took two turns were the ones in the very last column (there were only two techs in that column). I was going through them so fast that I didn't even bother constructing the Transcendence Era research buildings. I also decided not to upgrade my units until I finished the tree because I was going so fast. By the time I designed my elite transcendence troops, it literally cost more to upgrade my units than to purchase new ones. One might argue that it's still worth it to upgrade the old units because of their rank... not true. At this point I had all the training facilities (and their superior versions) built in all my production-centered cities; so a new unit from any of those cities starts at rank 8. All my existing units were only rank 4-6. Not to mention the fact that the cash from disbanding would offset the purchase costs even further. I'm digressing into another issue, but they are related. If it took longer to get through this era, upgrades would be more incremental (I do think that refit cost system needs to be rethought... but that deserves its own thread).

Some might disagree with scaling it so high (15 or 20), but remember, I didn't even touch the Transcendence Era version of the "research building". Constructing that in research cities would have increased my research a ton! Frankly, I'd prefer that this era be slow. Also, any argument along the lines of, "what about the timing of getting the habitation buildings and throwing off growth balance..." simply does not stand. The Mechanization Era habitation options are pretty robust... and even so, it wouldn't be such a bad thing to put some habitation pressure on the players until they open up the new building. I would not be worried about the growth balance in the least degree.

There should also be a "supertech" at the end of the tree that adds some type of incentive to continuing research after the tree is done. In my last game, I moved all the scientists to something else because it was a waste of labor. One could decide to salvage all the research buildings to shave off the building upkeep costs, but at that point you're so rich that it's negligible. I don't know what this "supertech" would be or what it would offer, but I bet there are a few ideas out there.

kidpython
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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by kidpython » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:08 pm

In endless space there is a supertech that leads directly to a research victory. You resarch an extremely expensive (in research points) building that has to then be built on 10 different planets and then held for at least 10 turns on each planet. This provides an alternate research victory condition that is more palatable to me than the current one in Pandora. Also since you generally have good sight by the end of the game, you can tell when your opponent is getting close to a research victory and you know precisely what you have to do about it.

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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by boulugre » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:11 am

I agree with the above and I would also add that transcendence era doesn't really bring any thing really new in terms of gameplay. You do get a couple of unit upgrades that does change things, such as the advancement that double the move and vision of units, but other than that it's mostly the same stuff you get in Mecha era but with twice the power( unit chassis, buildings, weapons type, armor etc etc ) making the mecha era gameplay very similar to a transcendence era.

It would be nice if Transcendence bring some new chassis, new type of weapons and armor, building etc that would give more incentive to reach and play this era. In current state of game you just want to reach transcendence to over power other factions with stronger economy and armies.

ErissN6
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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by ErissN6 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:43 am

That's why I play in Marathon pace, feeling like being the 'normal' game. And I still even think the last era is a little too easy for the research..
In Marathon (and maybe elsewhere?), research time should be increased by about 25% (between 10% and 50%)

About experience of units: Don't destroy nests near your towns: they send you training partners..

jdmillard
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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by jdmillard » Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:00 pm

kidpython wrote:In endless space there is a supertech that leads directly to a research victory. You resarch an extremely expensive (in research points) building that has to then be built on 10 different planets and then held for at least 10 turns on each planet. This provides an alternate research victory condition that is more palatable to me than the current one...
Yeah, I've disabled research victory in every game so far. I'd appreciate a more complicated, less cheap way of winning by research.
boulugre wrote:I agree with the above and I would also add that transcendence era doesn't really bring any thing really new in terms of gameplay. You do get a couple of unit upgrades that does change things, such as the advancement that double the move and vision of units, but other than that it's mostly the same stuff you get in Mecha era but with twice the power( unit chassis, buildings, weapons type, armor etc etc ) making the mecha era gameplay very similar to a transcendence era.

It would be nice if Transcendence bring some new chassis, new type of weapons and armor, building etc that would give more incentive to reach and play this era. In current state of game you just want to reach transcendence to over power other factions with stronger economy and armies.
I think those crazy advancements, devices, and operations do change the gameplay. For example, I can design an aircraft and give it the device that makes an attack consume a single movement point. Then I get the advancement that doubles movement so these aircraft get 12 points. Then I can take a handful of those aircraft and slaughter their whole army in one turn (nanobots may come in handy in case I come across a halfway-decent unit). This strategy wouldn't be so overpowered if the AI would actually upgrade their units. There I go again, digressing into another issue that deserves it's own thread.
ERISS wrote:That's why I play in Marathon pace, feeling like being the 'normal' game. And I still even think the last era is a little too easy for the research..
In Marathon, reasearch time should be increased by about 25% (between 10% and 50%)...
That's the thing: I was on Epic pace getting one tech per turn (I guess I should play Marathon), so I can only imagine that this problem is worse in Standard. Then again, the amount of research a faction pumps out each turn will very much depend on its population (I know the growth rates have already been adjusted for each pace)... which begs the question: Does the growth rate of each pace need more adjusting? This is a difficult question to answer because the population of a faction during Transcendence Era will depend on how much conquest has been done. Like you, I think that it's the research costs that need adjusting. The Transcendence Era should be a bit more difficult to get through.

kidpython
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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by kidpython » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:08 pm

It is very easy to reach the point where your research points are at or near as high as the most expensive remaining tech and the only limitation is the "one tech per turn" rule. I would prefer raising the cost of the research a lot in the middle and late game, but also allow the player to get as many techs per turn as they can manage (or at at least allow 2 per turn.)

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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by jdmillard » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:36 pm

kidpython wrote:It is very easy to reach the point where your research points are at or near as high as the most expensive remaining tech and the only limitation is the "one tech per turn" rule. I would prefer raising the cost of the research a lot in the middle and late game, but also allow the player to get as many techs per turn as they can manage (or at at least allow 2 per turn.)
This is a good point. If you eventually control the majority of the map (and thus a ton of research output), there shouldn't be a problem with reaching that point where you get a tech per turn. In other words: getting a Transcendence Era tech each turn should be possible, but it should be a bit more difficult to obtain. I'm thinking that you would need to have a ton of scientists (aka-conquered many cites, like the majority of the map) AND have constructed the most advanced research facilities. I'll jut point out that in my game, that was not the case... I was far from controlling even half the map and I already mentioned that I was still using the Mechanization Era research buildings.

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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by BlueTemplar » Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:27 pm

For your information, Alpha Centauri uses a rather unique (like in many aspects of that game) tech cost system : tech costs are not fixed by tier, but depend on how many techs you have already acquired (and also depending on your tech lead compared to the other factions). So a "tier 1" tech would take as many research points as a "tier 5" if you were to research any of these as, say, your 10nth tech. This is especially noticeable in the SMAniaC mod, where the tech "forest" is less interconnected, so that you can focus much more on a specific "tree". The formula was balanced in such a way though, that the best players had still the issue of techs taking less than a turn to research in the end game (the actual limit is one tech per base per turn).

jdmillard
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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by jdmillard » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:34 pm

BlueTemplar wrote:For your information, Alpha Centauri uses a rather unique (like in many aspects of that game) tech cost system : tech costs are not fixed by tier, but depend on how many techs you have already acquired (and also depending on your tech lead compared to the other factions). So a "tier 1" tech would take as many research points as a "tier 5" if you were to research any of these as, say, your 10nth tech. This is especially noticeable in the SMAniaC mod, where the tech "forest" is less interconnected, so that you can focus much more on a specific "tree". The formula was balanced in such a way though, that the best players had still the issue of techs taking less than a turn to research in the end game (the actual limit is one tech per base per turn).
Okay, that's interesting. Are you suggesting that a version this be implemented? or just adding perspective to the discussion?

void
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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by void » Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:45 pm

Modifying the tech cost based on how many techs are already researched... that idea sounds intriguing indeed since it puts more emphasis on the research order. Though should probably be an additive instead of a multiplicative modifier, otherwise deep research is too favored. Guess I'll first try to further increase the transcendence tech costs after the current beta is merged with release (should happen over the next days).

And yeah, with advancements being buildable we're gonna have one last tech that grants an advancement which, when produced, wins the game.
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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by boulugre » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:03 am

void wrote:
And yeah, with advancements being buildable we're gonna have one last tech that grants an advancement which, when produced, wins the game.

That sounds awesome, I have a few suggestions on that :

- Make it really expensive. For example a 30 pop size city with all the manufacturing building done and affecting all its population as worker should still need 10 - 20 turns to finish it. Or perhaps you should require X number of cities to build it before getting the win ( like the 2 alien factions in SMACX if i remember well)

- Make sure a message pops up for player that another faction is going for it and make AI faction hate and attack the player trying to build it.

- Another idea would be to materialize the ultimate building on the map, maybe as an alien super unit, a terrain advancement or a building in the city. The player would then need to realize a specific action (like bringing the ultimate unit in all its city to perform an action, protect the terrain advancement or building for X turn etc etc...) before winning the game. I am just throwing ideas there, always felt that science victory in most 4X game was a little lame, just research this and build that and poof, you win the game. Would be nice to have something a little different where you would need to protect your ultimate project for a certain number of turn while other factions do all what they can to stop you.

jdmillard
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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by jdmillard » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:30 am

Yes, these are good ideas.
boulugre wrote:...always felt that science victory in most 4X game was a little lame, just research this and build that and poof, you win the game. Would be nice to have something a little different where you would need to protect your ultimate project for a certain number of turn while other factions do all what they can to stop you.
I agree, and that would be cool. Colonization fervor creates 2 units when it's completed. What if this advancement created a "transcendence prototype" special unit that has to be protected for X turns? This unit would have little power (but immune to all operations from a unique device: "high security" or something like that). The unit could be a glowing person, or a glowing pyramid. It can be simple, as long as it looks cool. All factions will assault the city where the prototype is protected, and it will be an epic battle. The defender will have his entire army there because he wont care if he loses nearby cities as long as his prototype survives (cause he'll win). He'll be deploying nanobots every turn, stacking healing devices, whatever it takes to survive those X turns... dang. That would actually be a fun technological victory and I would play it many times over. Now, I never even bother (nor do I in other games).

EDIT: If the unit dies, either that faction lost its chance at a tech victory, or there'd have to be some way to rebuild it. I don't know.

boulugre
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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by boulugre » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:06 am

jdmillard wrote:If the unit dies, either that faction lost its chance at a tech victory, or there'd have to be some way to rebuild it. I don't know.
Or make the unique unit capturable, on the model of alien unit , so you could have some king of the hill style of struggle , with the unique unit changing hands many times, the goal being to cumulate X turn of ownership of that unit. (With the cumulated point decreasing or being reset to zero when you loose control. )

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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by ErissN6 » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:41 pm

void wrote: we're gonna have one last tech that grants an advancement which, when produced, wins the game.
It should be not a sole requirement, but an added requirement to the present tech victory, so it would be impossible to rush directly to this advancement.

jdmillard
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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by jdmillard » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:49 pm

ERISS wrote:
void wrote: we're gonna have one last tech that grants an advancement which, when produced, wins the game.
It should be not a sole requirement, but an added requirement to the present tech victory, so it would be impossible to rush directly to this advancement.
Yes. What he said.

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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by SephiRok » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:39 am

Saves of games where research goes too fast would be extremely helpful so we can form a more objective opinion. The more saves we can get, the more accurate our changes can be.
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Re: Transcendence Era Technology

Post by Belanos » Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:12 am

After reading this thread, I found I agreed with the points being made about techs going by too fast. So I thought I might try to mod the values for the two later eras myself in order to stretch them out. But I can't seem to find any research costs in any of the Technology files in the Data folder. Are these values hardcoded then, with no ability to make any changes, or are they located in some obscure location that I never thought of looking at? I'd like to see the Mech Era techs take twice as long to research as the Colonization ones, and the final era take twice as long again as the Mech era.

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