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PostPosted: Feb 08 2006 
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Colonel

Joined: Oct 25 2005
Posts: 344
Location: Salinas, CA
I'm really peeved that there seems to be some idiotic cap on research spending for tech. The manual tells me that the sliders that control how much of my research funds goes to tech level, techs, or efficiency are supposed to allow me, the player, the ability to change how I fund each. Thanks to that idiotic research tech cap those sliders are worthless excercises in frustration. :evil:

First and foremost BG needs to ditch the cap. The first thing to fix is to make research projects subject to inflation the same way that unit and facility costs adjust for inflation up or down. One of the biggest reasons players were able to blitz through techs in earlier versions was their ability to run up inflation and then with those inflated dollars they could blitz through researching techs ever quicker as the tech costs stayed stable.

Next BG needs to fix how to make research more realistic as far as getting players to research multiple projects the way it's done in real life. It's extremely unrealistic to only research one project at a time yet that is what the game now forces players to do. Even the Manhatten Project during WW2 was not the only research project the US did during that time. It might be a nice touch if there was the ability to rush a project along with increased funding but at the expense of other projects and ofcourse subject to greater cost ineffciency.

BG needs to apply the bell-curve approach to researching techs. At one end with one research project going players would pay extra to get faster research on just one project. Any excess spent upon researching techs would not be shunted to efficiency or tech level, it would go down the drain so that researching one project at a time would get faster results but the cost would skyrocket as duplicative efforts waste cost efficiency. At the other end would be trying to fill up every research slot. There players would experience extended research times because not enough would be spent upon each project. In the middle should be the sweet spot zone where researching tech would be most cost effective as each project gets proper funding. Something like 1.5 projects per research center plus the freebie ought to be the best. If I have 28 research centers then I should be able to research 43 projects at a time and get good cost and time efficiency.

Allow the whole amount devoted to researching techs to get spent on researching techs. Certainly it should be modified by research efficiency and whatever other factors that would be pertinent like inflation.

I've also noticed that weapons techs seem to take longer to research than other items. I've seen items with the same cost take different amounts of time to research and these differences are not due to inflation or other factors. I've seen the stated number of days almost double when the tech actually gets placed into research from what the tech page tells me. If the cost is the same then it should take the same amount of time to research regardless of what that tech is. Cost is cost and cost should rule how long it takes.

A real improvement would be to add some variability into the research tech times beyond what's currently done. Research just does not have a fixed cost and a fixed time budget. One can't just say oh, we'll research project X and it will take 50 days and cost exactly $4 billion. Real life, replete with Murphy's Law, says oops someone dropped a volatile flask and the project will now take 53 days and cost $4.1 billion or Research Breakthrough and now it will only take 45 days and cost $3.8 billion. There should be some variability in research to make it more realistic. With Murphy's Law and Research Breakthroughs research would be less of a formula and more like real life and players would feel the joys of research breakthroughs while bumming a little when Murphy's Law strikes. There should be a small chance either way that would be applied to each project each day so that some projects may speed up or may slow down or may not get affected at all.

I certainly hope that BG will fix research so that it's fun again and not such a source of frustration. It certainly has to be one of the biggest draws to the game. Hopefully soon it will be fun again and more realistic. :D
Thanks,

Eric Larsen


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PostPosted: Feb 09 2006 
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General
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Joined: Jun 04 2002
Posts: 2956
Location: BattleGoat Studios
Thanks for your comments and taking the time to elaborate on them.

Very interestingly, some of things you suggest are actually implemented and are the cause of some of the oddities about Research. Though there is certainly a lot of debate about exactly how some of the effects should be applied, or how complex the whole thing has become (ie 'black box').

The 'fixed' max for the research spending (the 'overall cap') is a function of a few elements, though primarily the total size of your economy, and the number of research centres. The latter item is self-evident; the former, the economy size, is part of what makes it harder to work with, since that factor changes so much depending upon whether you play a large region or small one.

Simply put, SR2010 makes it so that you can't spend more than x percent (the number itself is affected by a lot of factors, and I don't have the info handy, for for arguement sake let's say it's 25%) of your total region's GDP on research. The foundation for this rule is the assumption that there has to be a ceiling after which the trained people, support staff, available research infrastructure, run out. There has to be a point at which spending more money simply won't get more results, and that is what the cap is for.

Your example of the Manhattan project is a perfect one for why some of the research restrictions are in place in SR2010. Why didn't Iraq succeed with their own 'Manhattan Project' in the 1980's? Even with the billions spent, they could only go so far so quickly.

This is also the reason for our 'max you can spend on a single project per day' cap - Just because you write out a check for $5 Billion doesn't mean you'll get your nuclear tech facility on your doorstep tomorrow. The Manhattan project was given a huge budget but still required time to get its results - spending more money would not get faster results. If you do try to spend more than your projects can 'absorb', at least we send it to general tech level ('theory research') and efficiency improvements. (In real life it might just end up in a politician's pockets, but we pretend everyone is honest in the world of 2010...)

And when you go back to WWII, history shows us that both the US and Germany had one big 'Project' - the US chose Nuclear Weapons, the Germans chose rockets and missiles. Each poured huge resources into their Projects, and in fact each succeeded at mastering their chosen research areas and eclipsing the other. However, neither one could afford the resources (money, scientists, support structures) to do TWO big projects. The US chose nukes and their rocketry program was a joke; the Germans chose rockets and their nuclear program was a shambles. Yes, they both also researched other goodies - jet planes, tank guns, radar, blah blah, but when it comes to the big ticket stuff, there were limits.

We do, in fact, use the bell-curve approach you suggest, though again this is something that gets us criticism because it is hard to 'see' and understand. You can research a single item faster by making it your only project, exactly as you suggest, but you do encounter some of the 'down the drain' spending you ask for. How much? Where's the sweet spot? Well, we just don't have the ability to report that information in the research screen, even if we could find a way to say it clearly. Among other things, the 'sweet spot' of how many research slots to fill is affected by a lot of other factors, including your economy size, efficiencies, etc.

Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for - we implemented a lot of what you're asking for, but the end result is generally considered a bit confusing and difficult to use.

One oddity about how the current research screens work is that estimates (ie number of days, or cost, etc) are only accurate when the situation is stable - because of the above factors (bell curve, benefits of less projects, spreading out spending, etc etc). So when a new project is added or removed, the estimates are not accurate until a day or two has passed to allow everything to "settle in". Again, this is a cause of complaint, because we can't show an accurate assessment of how the new project affects your whole house of cards until the project is actually begun. So as you say, the days/costs shown before adding a tech often change drastically when the tech is added to your existing mix, since you've unbalanced your status quo - the bell curves, the spending splits, etc all need to readjust.

You mention variability in research tech times, and except for the use of random events (the "oops" and "eureka" factors), we already do that - research will slightly be affected third party elements such as civilian approval, government type, labour force use, etc. Again, a good suggestion of yours, but it means that research of the same 'project x' will take slightly different times and costs in different regions, causing confusion.

Should we make research more 'random event' based? "The joys of research breakthroughs"? If we do, you can bet as many people will complain about that as will like it...

Here at BattleGoat we discuss Research often, and one bit of consensus is that it needs to be clearer and more understandable. However, you also asked for it to be "more realistic". I would suggest that maybe we are too realistic, and we need to make it more "artificial" so that it is easier to understand and predict.

-- George.


Last edited by George Geczy on Feb 09 2006, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Feb 09 2006 
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Captain

Joined: Aug 24 2005
Posts: 126
I'm basically agree with Eric. The system is really complicated and not understandable for an average SR2010 (!!!!) player. In the another running research topic I've already explained, why I don't like the research part of this game. The summary: make it simpler OR communicate the background info to the player (eg. the sliders currently totally misleading. The extra research slots misleading and useless etc etc.).


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PostPosted: Feb 09 2006 
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Captain

Joined: Aug 24 2005
Posts: 126
Regarding the Manhattan project: I think that is a good example. While it consumed a lot of resources and manpower, it never stopped the research on other projects. Just look, how many improvements were developed on both sides during the war.

The technology "money cap" - I think - correctly simulates that it is not possible to develop something in 1 day, even if millions and billions of dollars and manpower is pumped into a project. But I don't think that it is OK that one project slows down another WHEN ENOUGH money is pumped into both.


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PostPosted: Feb 09 2006 
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General
User avatar

Joined: Jun 04 2002
Posts: 2956
Location: BattleGoat Studios
szabfer wrote:
The summary: make it simpler OR communicate the background info to the player


Yes, I think we all agree that one or the other needs to be done.

-- George.


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PostPosted: Feb 09 2006 
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Captain

Joined: Aug 24 2005
Posts: 126
Wowww... what a fast response. Reading forum in the night? :-)

By the way: I believe that this community is mature enough to help the improvement of the game. It would be really childish if we just shout and complain at you but do nothing to help you out. While there are lot of ideas are written in this forum to make you enought topic on your "corporate" discussions, you may involve the people in your decision process.

We know, what we want - this is a rare consumer type :)


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