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Stellaris Dev Diary #152 - Summer Experimentation

Hello everyone!

Summer vacations are reaching their end and most of the team is back as of last week. Work has started again and we're really excited for what we have in store for the rest of the year.

While most of us have been away during most of the summer, we’ve also had some people who worked during July. July is a very good time to try out different designs and concepts that we might not otherwise have time to do, and today we thought it might be fun for you to see some of the experiments we ran during that period of hiatus.

Although we learned some useful insights, these experiments didn’t end up being good enough to make a reality.

Industrial Districts
As I have mentioned earlier, I have wanted to find a better solution for how we handle the production of alloys and consumer goods. I often felt like the experience of developing a planet felt better with an Ecumenopolis rather than with a regular planet. I think a lot of it had to do with their unique districts and that it feels better to get the jobs from constructing districts rather than buildings. Not necessarily as an emotion reaction to the choice, but rather that the choice perhaps feels more “pure” or simple.

An experiment I wanted to run was to see if it was possible to add an industrial district that provided Laborer jobs, instead of having buildings for Metallurgists and Artisans. Laborers would produce both alloys and consumer goods but could be shifted towards producing more of either.

This meant we added a 5th district, the Industrial District. By adding another district we also needed to reduce the number of building slots available. Since there would be no more need for buildings that produced alloys and consumer goods, this should still end up being similar.

upload_2019-8-15_12-14-17.png

A Laborer would consume 8 minerals to produce 2 alloys and 4 consumer goods, and that amount could be modified in either direction by passing a Decision. What I wanted was to have an industry that could have a military and civilian output, and where you could adjust the values between these outputs.

Having a laborer job that generates an “industrial output”, which could be translated into either alloys or consumer goods did feel good, but the specific solution we used didn’t feel quite right.

City Districts & Building slots
Another experiment was to see how it felt if city districts unlock building slots instead of pops. This experiment didn’t have a specific problem or issue it was trying to address but rather it was to investigate how that would feel and work. It was interesting but ultimately it felt less fun than the current implementation. It would have needed more time to see if it could be made to work.
upload_2019-8-15_12-15-12.png

This experiment did include increasing the number of jobs you would get for the building, so a research lab would provide 3 jobs instead of 2.

City District Jobs from Buildings
At the same time, we also tried a version where buildings applied jobs to city districts instead of providing jobs by themselves. One upside would be that you’d need less micromanagement to get the jobs, but the downside is that it would also be quite a large upswing in new jobs whenever you built a city district. In the end, it felt like you had less control and understanding of what a planet was specializing in.

Summary
Although these experiments were interesting, they didn’t end up quite where we wanted to, so they never became more than just experiments. We did learn some interesting things though, which we will keep in mind for the future. The industrial districts are still something I want to keep looking into, but we have to find a better solution.

Dev diaries will now be back on a regular schedule, but we will be looking into changing the format a bit this time around. For now, dev diaries will be coming bi-weekly, which means we will be back again in another 2 weeks with a similar topic.
 
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hangry

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Well, I can only speak for myself, but I'd take better gameplay and easier handling, over flavor, anytime.

The buildings are nice, but virtually having two different building systems, feels kinda illogical for me. On the one side I just order districts, but on the other side, I order a specific building, every 500k citizens my colony gains. This feels like someone wanted to combine two different, but largely oposite, colony management systems. And I have to say, while it certainly is an improvement from the tile system, it still doesn't feel "right".

Personally i would be fine if they keep the building for something like the gene clinic, galactic stock exchange or special resources, but change commercial zones, tech, alloys and consumer goods into districts.
 

Muhrks

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I like the idea of the industrial districts. Would be great for habitats as well, if placed above an alloy source.
Will research districts also be a thing on planets, some day?
 

Tech Noir Synth

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Could you explain to me what the reason is behind this 5th district slot and trying out building slots via city districts?

I don't see how this would add anything of value by adding another job which you could shift around to alloys and consumer goods. We already manage our economy just fine by deciding what buildings to build. I don't want another layer ontop of that by having to set either alloy or consumer good focus on every single planet.

Also how will you make sure the AI will be able to do this properly? Without mods the Ai is barely capable of managing their empires as is.

How about adressing other issues first, like opening up the 2nd pop assembly job for biological pops. Give players an option to increase pop growth without relying on Robots. Rework Hivemind civics finally. Do something about Machien empire dominance just like you said you were going to when you talked about reducing Machine habitability, remember?

Help us manage our planets in the lategame. Give Machines and Synth empires automated migration because they have 0 at the moment. We are stuck with resettling every single pop to our Ringworlds manually. Add an option to designate Planet XYZ to mark as immigration for the whole empire and let us automate migration for an energy cost.

Get rid of the "decision" encourage planetary growth. Its not a decision, its mandatory and has to be activated at all times. Remove it/rework it into an edict.

Fix the Crime Lord deal. For as long as it exists, its a 10 stability bonus for any non-Gestalt empire forever by only spending 25 influence and unemploying an enforcer job for a short time. Rework Crime so that its actually threatening, unlike deviancy which is very hard to deal with, especially for Hiveminds who lack all the fancy bonuses you gave to Machine empires.

Revisit pop growth across the board. Do you want it to be equal for all empires? Do you want Synth empires to be miles ahead of everyone in pop growth, with the ability to grow with 20-40 pops (depending on immigration and relics) a month? Should Driven Assimilators which are already the best empire in the game be starting with this high pop growth? Should Hiveminds really be stuck with the worst possible pop growth in the lategame when every empire uses Robot pop growth to surpass them? Shouldn't Hiveminds be the empire with the highest pop growth and trade it for less efficient specialist jobs? Because right now, Robots and Synths have the highest possible pop growth in the game and the highest alloy output. Synths via being able to get tons of specialist output bonuses and civics like Meritocracy and Machines by having a more efficient alloy job output as is.

And please allow us to set build orders for our automated planets, or "construction plans" or improve the automation so it no longer upgrades all buildings instantly, draining our strategic ressource pool and mismanaging our economy.
 

Methone

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Interesting ideas! I like seeing some of the ideas that get tossed around behind the scenes, even if I personally would prefer some of them didn't get implemented.
 

Kain2K

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Personally i would be fine if they keep the building for something like the gene clinic, galactic stock exchange or special resources, but change commercial zones, tech, alloys and consumer goods into districts.

I think so too. We ultimately manage an empire. So just ordering districts and, maybe some unique buildings (like wonders in civ) would make sense. Ordering a new alloy forge, doesn't.
If I'd be the emperor of an interstellar empire, and there wouldn't be enough resources for my fleet, I'd just tell my governor to get to it (or in ingame terms, build a new district). I'd not travel to the colony, to personaly order and oversee the construction of twenty new alloy forges. The only time I'd order a specific building, is if I'd wanted something like a world wonder to be built.
 

Polcovnik

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Hello there! I personally love the current district system to normal organic species and especially the ecumenopolis district system. No rework needed, just build on top of it. Here are some ideas of mine.
  • A nice way to add special districts to a normal planet would be to build a ring around the planet where you could build shield districts from or other cool things.
  • A spaceport should be inhabited, more like a habitat. If not from the beginning then later when you research the "Citadel". Special districts that add more jobs for building ships, creating or collecting trade value, etc.
  • What I would rather like to see is the same development being done on the Machine Worlds and Hive Worlds instead of just a production bonus. In the current state they seem under-powered. I would like to see special districts with very high energy input that would make Machine Worlds very powerful and make it in a way that would not be easy to have many of those.
  • Make Machine Capitals able to be developed towards a special tipe of world and that would be a Mainframe World (only one possible) with really unique districts.
  • Make Ring Wolds feel very unique to Machine civ and Hive civ
  • To Hive world I would like to see some special districts that spawn population and army on large scales.
 
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hangry

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I have thought about it, for sure, but I think the buildings add a lot of flavor with their art. It's a delicate balance.

You could always use the artwork of the consumer goods factories and alloy foundries for new special buildings that increase alloy/consumer goods output similar to mineral purification hubs or food processing centers.
 

fodazd

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About the districts vs. buildings thing: All the buildings that are currently "planet unique" would probably need to stay buildings in order to work. The obvious candidates for buildings that could be replaced by districts are alloy foundries, civilian factories and research labs, since these are the buildings you tend to want a lot of. Also commercial zones maybe.
 

Private Prinny

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The industrial districts are still something I want to keep looking into, but we have to find a better solution.

Please do so. I REALLY like the Industrial district concept and would hate to see it sink.

I simply HATE using Building slots for Alloy/Consumer good production (these are fundamental ressources in my eyes and should be produced in a similar way and let the building slot stay clear for other ways of planet specialization) and I would think the Industiral Complex is a perfect solution.
Of course you may look into toning its efficiency down a bit - the shown popup production per laborer job was a bit crazy high imho.
 

Grave461

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The industrial districts are still something I want to keep looking into, but we have to find a better solution.

The industrial district sounds like a really great idea, and something I'd like to see eventually make it into the game. What was it specifically that you didn't like, or didn't feel was right about it?

One thought I had was keeping the alloy/consumer goods buildings, but instead give them a multiplier to the output of each laborer job, respectively.
 

Soulage

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How much performance will increase if (for example) after income more then 1k - 2k credit/ore/alloy, AI stopped adjust with each pop?

it's like chopping with an ax, but it seems to me that this would increase performance by 50%.

Sry for eng -_-
 
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MatthieuG7

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It's true that jobs from districts are more satisfying than those from buildings, but I don't know why.
 

hangry

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It's true that jobs from districts are more satisfying than those from buildings, but I don't know why.

My biggest problems with buildings is that i can't sort them. It drives me crazy that they move around when you upgrade them. It really triggers my ocd. I would love to be able to drag & drop them.
 

ubuntufreakdragon

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I see quite a problem here a egalitarian Democracy needs much more CG relative to alloys while an autocracy sometimes manages to get all CG form trade and solely produce alloys.
 

Ixalmaris

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I really hope there is some serious work being done on late game performance and possible solutions for that.
Imo the by far most pressing issues in Stellaris.

But also the most dry things which can't really be shown in DDs.
Personally I wish Stellaris would get a very long production cycle DLC like EU4 now with the time spend mainly on performance, ai and getting the base game into a state where you can start concentrating on expanding the game instead of remaking it and then dealing with the fallout.
 

Eladrin

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I see quite a problem here a egalitarian Democracy needs much more CG relative to alloys while an autocracy sometimes manages to get all CG form trade and solely produce alloys.
We did let you change the focus of the industry districts with planetary decisions as part of the experiment. (Focus: Civilian and Military in the screenshot.)
 

Spaceception

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This experimentation stuff looks interesting. And I like the Industrial districts.

Will there be more "experimental" dev diaries where you share things you tried out, but didn't work right, or are looking for feedback over if there's a chance it could work? Or could that cause too many conflicting ideas/suggestions?
 

Darth.

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Industrial Districts
Love the Industrial District experiment. It'd make Machine Worlds feel a lot better too since currently you can only fill up a Machine World with Mineral, City or Energy Districts. Same for Hive Worlds except they also have Food districts.

However, the balance of production when you pass the decision to nudge production seems a bit off to me.

If you have a Forge World producing alloys, passing a decision to then immediately start producing consumer goods for just 25 influence doesn't really make sense to me. I would suggest splitting them up.

Industrial Districts produce Consumer Goods but need a Planetary Administration (10 Pops) to build.

Metalworking/Metallurgical Districts produce alloys, but require a Planetary Administration (10 pops on planet) to build.

For every level of Capital Building you upgrade on Planet you can build 2 Industrial Districts or 2 Metalworking Districts (or 1 of each). They do not count towards Planet Size and don't use up district slots so on a Size 10 planet you could still build 10 city districts along with 2 of say Industrial Districts.

Once you turn the world into an Ecumenopolis, much like the number of city districts get halved, the number of industrial and Metallurgical Districts get halved too and start counting towards Planet Size and take up District Slots.

Alternatively, a new Forge World Ascension Perk allows you to fill up a Planet with nothing but Industrial Districts upto the Planet Size Cap without paying for an Ecumenopolis.

For Habitats, you can build the new districts from day 1 and in all cases the two new districts count towards the size cap meaning 5 industrial districts in a size 5 habitat only.

Voidborne allows your Industrial and Metalworking Districts to avoid the size cap, but you still can't build more of those than the actual Habitat size, meaning you could have a size 5 habitat with 5 research and 5 industrial districts with Voidborne.

This would buff habitats and Voidborne (they need it), but the price of habitats would probably have to be adjusted a bit too.
 

C.N.

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I pleased that you made a diary about these experiments, even if they didn't work out for you.

I also wonder if the city districts themselves are the problem? What they provide (housing, clerks) is not exciting and just an extra overhead.
How would a plan where you scrap city districts and replace them with commercial and industrial districts work out? Maybe get rid of clerks, add traders/merchants, get rid out housing and amenities? Might even help with performance if the AI doesn't have to care about balancing those.
 

LystAP

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Interesting. Have you considered other kinds of 'worlds' which can have similar new kinds of districts? New types of ecumonopolises or maybe even colonized gas giants?
 
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