Energy economy and making it more meaningful

Energy economy and making it more meaningful

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Forboding Angel
Evolution RTS Developer
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Energy economy and making it more meaningful

Postby Forboding Angel » 14 Jun 2018, 11:30

As everyone knows, evo's energy economy is kind of specialized. Used for utility purposes, cloaking units, powering shields, units firing etc.

Lately I've become unhappy with this for a few reasons.

1. Getting energy in the early game to power weapons and evolves is really really difficult. I think this raises the skill ceiling to an uncomfortably high level
2. Energy and upgrades stay fairly tight until the moment you get your first adv generator. After that, it's a cavalcade of spamming adv gens and the evolve button.
3. It's fairly non-transparent to the end user/newbies.

I've had a few ideas on how to combat this. The first one, I will paste below:

/* Ignore this, I'm only adding it for the sake of history */

One of my current ideas is following along the lines of what AF has suggested, and that is using luageo to make Geothermal plants the main source of energy generation, and to make basic and advanced gens more supplemental. I hate to see units get made essentially worthless as the game goes on, but I don't see any way to avoid that for the basic gens.

Here is an idea I have come up with: Make basic generators cheap, but make them take up so much physical space that using them long term becomes unwieldy and unviable. This would also allow me to position geos in a sort of sweet spot; along with this geos would be upgradeable to mk4. Adv gens would still remain useful, but nowhere near as cost efficient as geos.

This has a few positive aspects:
Remaining on basics becomes a serious burden and becomes nearly impossible to properly protect
Adv becomes a luxury that is nice to have but is not as effective as upgrading your geos
And geos are in random positions meaning that they are harder to defend. It also makes geos a prime target, as well as making geos something very much worth fighting over

So functionally, how does this work out?
Well, first off, by making basic gens dirt cheap, but low producing, so you can get your econ up within a decent time frame, but it is not a level you want to stay at for any period of time. And then, raising the cost and output of adv gens to something truly significant. This allows you to have safe energy, but at a hefty price tag. I think that with enough testing and some balance juggling, I can make this work in a way that ends up being a positive for gameplay. Remember that lower cost means lower HP as well, so basics become prime targets for raiding again.


/* Stop ignoring now */

That was idea number one, which Stowtemid balked at. So without rehashing all of that, let me move on to idea #2, which is probably a bit more radical and sane at the same time.


Make all units cost energy as a multiple of their tier and tied to metal cost (so this would be all automatically calculated, basic econ structures like mex, basic gen and supply depot wouldn't cost energy).
Remove energy cost for units firing.

So, I spent about 4 hours testing this and playing test build games with myself. I didn't dial in the correct multiples, but I did prove to myself that it is viable and quite possibly the best way to go. This included an increase in the energy cost of evolves as well.

The way that I tiered cost was using metal cost as a base, then tier1-3 to apply different multipliers. I also applied this energy cost to units as well, so mk2 - 4 had tiered energy costs. Metal cost between the tiers stayed the same, and I feel like that is the best method as the metal economy is very good currently.

This makes energy easy to understand for less skilled and newer players and allows us to do more with the energy economy. And there is the bonus of not having to deal with an army that doesn't fire. It's not worth mentioning the older tactics of trying to dry out your opponent's energy right before a fight with drones or whatever, as that tactic hasn't really been valid for a while not, not really.


Getting the numbers right for this is key. I experimented for quite a while and found some numbers that I liked quite a bit. I am of course basing this on the assumption of luageo random being a thing, and geos being used as the stepping stones between basics and adv. Interestingly enough, in my testing, basics never became outright useless, mainly because of the way I did the cost, they were the most cost efficient, but wasted tons of space.

I think that since geos are limited in placement and number, evolving geos is definitely something worth considering.

It also adds a larger price tag to heftier units like the endbringers and the t3 weapons. But probably my favorite thing of all is that it scales up with your factory production (I.E. mk2 - 4).

The somewhat more tricky part will be getting the evolve costs right, although with some testing it should be pretty doable.

*****

I expect some push back on this, and that's fine. However, currently I am very much not happy with the way that the energy econ works. Sure, it works, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it good or ideal. Worst case scenario I could set this stuff up for testing purposes and just revert it if it turns out to suck.
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CommonPlayer
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Re: Energy economy and making it more meaningful

Postby CommonPlayer » 14 Jun 2018, 16:03

Are geos still upgradable? Should geos be a huge part in the energy income?

Spring games don't need half as many geos as you want now, what is your motivation in this scenario beyond it carrying over from your previous proposal?

Is there a good reason to build basic generators when geos are immediately available? You might accidentally punish players who own more mexes than their geos can support, making energy income from geos a soft cap for players.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Energy economy and making it more meaningful

Postby Forboding Angel » 14 Jun 2018, 21:21

Are geos still upgradable? Should geos be a huge part in the energy income?


If by huge you mean "significant", then yes, I believe they should. If they just remain as niche buildings, I really don't see the point.

Geos aren't upgradeable now. I am floating the idea of making them upgradeable.

Spring games don't need half as many geos as you want now, what is your motivation in this scenario beyond it carrying over from your previous proposal?


This is a generalization, and one that muddles the point.

LuaGeo never had anything to do with any of these ideas. LuaGeo was a way to make geos a real part of resource distribution. It also so happened to make me think about the way energy is used and what I didn't like about it.

Let me make it clear, one idea has nothing to do with the other.

Is there a good reason to build basic generators when geos are immediately available? You might accidentally punish players who own more mexes than their geos can support, making energy income from geos a soft cap for players.


If I can build basics wherever I want at the back of my base, or I can build a geo in a semi risky position, it depends on the situation. Sometimes the geo will be more attractive in the risk/reward scenario, sometimes the basics will be more attractive.


Addressing comments from other players:

Damgam - Today at 3:52 AM
Ok so basically make energy "ta'ish"
:shrug:
I like that units use energy to fire, that makes Evo somewhat unique


Somewhat ta-ish, yes. I have my own reservations about it.
I also like that units use energy to fire, but even though it's on a cost curve that makes sense, it's fairly opaque to the end user and requires a lot of getting used to for them.

Pros to originality, cons to immediate learnability

Stowtemid - Today at 6:48 AM
I also like units needing energy as ammunition, but if it is bad game mechanic it is bad game mechanic.


I don't know that it is a bad game mechanic, but it is a misunderstood one, and not one that is easy to explain right off the bat. Furthermore, there isn't really a good UI way to show the user how much energy is going to be needed when he has a ball of units selected. It ends up being a rough guess and spam energy scenario.

Damgam - Today at 7:11 AM
Rip
Why not leave both? lol
Reduce cost to fire and add this


I did consider this, but doesn't that just sort of exacerbate the issue?


Fakebook News Forboding Angel - Today at 9:02 AM
The only thing I will say is I like the way it is now (Spamming of energiez)


Fair enough.
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CommonPlayer
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Re: Energy economy and making it more meaningful

Postby CommonPlayer » 15 Jun 2018, 01:44

One thing I never understand is the need to have wind farm in *A games. It's always better than solars so you always want to build it instead, the "risk" is that better players will enjoy raiding your base and chain explode your wind farm for a quick and super easy victory. Wind farm also fluctuates between high and low output, just to make solars somewhat desirable as a backup energy source.
End result is you need both wind and solars albeit in different quantities so it is "balanced".

Back to the topic, luageo is basically the wind farm equivalent for Evo, except it is worse.
Luageo takes away the chain exploding so it is just better than basic, raiders will still want to target geos as they are squishier (due to same hp/cost across all buildings) than other generators but the impact is lower, so the risk is lower. You no longer lose games solely due to geos getting blown up, now it is just a no brainer to build geos once they are within your reach.

Now that you might think "what's the problem then? If anything luageo is better than wind farm in other *A games, not worse." But the problem lies within it having no weakness, so it becomes a necessity, an extra item to add to your builders' queue, a chore, until luamex also handles geos. Even then, it is still questionable to have to build different resource buildings when you are expanding, or are you one of those players who enjoy placing solars around every mex?
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Energy economy and making it more meaningful

Postby Forboding Angel » 15 Jun 2018, 03:08

Well ok, so as per our convo in discord, we got our wires crossed, so let me make it clear.

I'm fine with removing geos and pretending that geo spots don't exist. We could just reuse the building as a medium generator or something.

The reason I like this graduating energy cost thing, is because it keeps up the constant demand for energy, and I think raises it ever higher. I do think that in this case making t3 energy generation as much of a climb as t0 is a good thing, so essentially as the game goes on you are continually dumping metal and buildpower into making adv gens. For this reason, I foresee them working much the way they do now, however, the way I see it, the graduation would be continual, rather than in the waves that we currently see.

It's possible that this idea is crap and just won't work. I'm ready for the possibility that that might be the eventual case.
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Forboding Angel
Evolution RTS Developer
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Re: Energy economy and making it more meaningful

Postby Forboding Angel » 15 Jun 2018, 04:37

To this end, I have created a new branch and am doing all this tentative stuff there, so you can pull it and have a look
https://github.com/EvolutionRTS/Evoluti ... e/energiez
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