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Stellaris Dev Diary #153 - Empire Sprawl & Administrative Capacity

Hello everyone!
We’re back with yet another dev diary to showcase some more fruits of summer experimentation. As with the previous dev diary, this involved a lot of work carried out during the summer and involves something I’ve wanted to explore for a good while now.

Today we’ll be talking about empire sprawl and administrative capacity. Do note that these changes are still fairly young in their development, so numbers and implementation details may not be representative of what it will look like in the end.

As a background, I can mention that I have a grander idea of where I want to take these mechanics, but it will not all happen at once. These changes aim to mimic state bureaucracy or overhead created by managing a large empire. As a minor aspect I also wanted you to be able to experience the funny absurdity of having a planet entirely dedicated to bureaucracy. The movie Brazil is a great source of inspiration here :)

Empire Sprawl
We wanted to expand on how empire sprawl is used, so that it becomes a more interesting mechanic. The largest change means that pops now increase empire sprawl. Most things in your empire should be increasing empire sprawl to various degrees, to represent the administrative burden they impose.

upload_2019-8-29_10-40-35.png

Empire Sprawl can now be modified from its different sources, and as an example, the Courier Networks expansion tradition will now reduce empire sprawl caused directly by the number of planets and systems. As another example shows, the Harmony traditions finisher now reduces the total empire sprawl caused by all your pops.

We are also able to modify how much empire sprawl each pop contributes, and we’ve added a couple of new species traits that affect it. There are also machine variants of these traits.

upload_2019-8-29_10-41-13.png

We have also increased the penalty for the amount of empire sprawl that exceeds your administrative capacity. The goal is not to make administrative a hard cap, but we want to make it necessary to invest some of your resources into increasing your administrative capacity. More on that later.

upload_2019-8-29_10-41-49.png

The current plan is for machine empires to be more reliant on keeping their administrative capacity in line with their empire sprawl, so machine empires will suffer a much harsher penalty for exceeding their cap. We want machines to feel “centralized” and to perhaps favor a more “tall” playstyle.

upload_2019-8-29_10-42-12.png

Hive Minds, on the other hand, should be more tolerant of a sprawling empire where unmanaged drones are able to fall back on their instincts whenever they cannot maintain a responsive connection to the hive mind. Therefore, hive minds should be more tolerant of a “wide” playstyle.

Administrative Capacity
With all these changes to empire sprawl, what about administrative capacity, I imagine you asking? Well, since empire sprawl is becoming an expanded concept, administrative capacity will naturally be a part of that. Increasing your administrative capacity will now be a part of planning your empire’s economy.

upload_2019-8-29_10-42-48.png

For regular empires, the bureaucrat is a new job that increases your administrative capacity at the cost of consumer goods. This is also a specialist job, and has needs accordingly. Administrators are unchanged, and do not currently affect administrative capacity or bureaucrats.

For machine empires, the coordinators have changed roles from producing unity to now increasing administrative capacity instead, and they are more effective than bureaucrats. A new job called Evaluators now produce unity for machine empires.

Hive Minds currently have the hardest time to produce administrative capacity, but it has been added as a function of the synapse drone job.

upload_2019-8-29_10-43-26.png


Certain sources that previously increased administrative capacity by a static amount now increase is by a percentage amount instead. This doesn’t affect the output of the jobs, but rather increases the total administrative capacity directly.

Summary
Personally I’m very excited for these changes and I’m very much looking forward to taking it to its next step in the future. I hope you enjoyed reading about the changes that will come to Stellaris sometime later this year. As always, we’ll be interested to hear your thoughts.

As mentioned in last week’s dev diary, the schedule for dev diaries will now be bi-weekly, so the next dev diary will be in another 2 weeks.
 
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Blinky78

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Hopefully bureaucrats will be more effective if on the capital planet. Maybe also to a lesser extent on system capitals.
 

Fjölnsviðr

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It feels strange that the machines focus on a tall style of play, the only thing I know about them is from exterminators that expand in the galaxy. They are also efficient machines, their processing capacity (I imagine) would allow them to expand a lot. On the other hand they need some kind of nerf, so I am neither happy nor angry, a kind of midpoint with respect to the machine empires.
 

MrGuyPerson

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How are megacorps affected? Do they still have the same penalties? And equivalent bureaucrat jobs?
 

Mackus

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Good changes. And Brazil made me chuckle.

Hive Minds, on the other hand, should be more tolerant of a sprawling empire where unmanaged drones are able to fall back on their instincts whenever they cannot maintain a responsive connection to the hive mind. Therefore, hive minds should be more tolerant of a “wide” playstyle.
Hive Minds currently have the hardest time to produce administrative capacity, but it has been added as a function of the synapse drone job

Hmmm. Wonder if that should be the case. Aren't drones cut off from the hive mind supposed to act as mindless animals at best, or laying down and dying at worst?
I though Hive minds would be halfway between machine intelligences and regular empires in their administrative capacity mechanics. Would makes most sense lore-wise.
Hive minds have very little need for administrative infrastructure, because their pops are infrastructure.
If hive mind is losing control, just breed more synapse drones.

For regular empires, the bureaucrat is a new job that increases your administrative capacity at the cost of consumer goods. This is also a specialist job, and has needs accordingly. Administrators are unchanged, and do not currently affect administrative capacity or bureaucrats.

I think most ruler pops should increase administrative capacity. After all, whole point of local elites rather than direct rule from capital, is that they run things locally, preferably with minimal bureaucratic torment from the capital.
Nobles would thematically make most sense to have larger than most bonus to administrative capacity, since some would be sub-planetary vassals of central government.
 

Herr der Erlen

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I don`t get it right now how the former post come to the conclusion, that this would be a nerf for machine empires. Really, the Dev Diary seems telling the opposite. Maybe someone can explain it to me.

If it`s really a nerf, then hell yeah, finally a step forword!
 

Kharrus

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Outstanding balance change. Admin caps would become useless anyway around mid-game once science and unity output would ramp up to compensate, so going to a system that's percentage based is both logical and inclusive.

-The current system that ties the power curve of an empire closely to their tech/unity output is in part what gives Technocracy such a disproportionately powerful development boost compared to many of the other ethic-aligned civics. Having it shift more towards growth and resource access again lends well to how Gestalts will be balanced.

-How will these changes affect the gameplay of aggressive, expansionist machine empires like Driven Assimilators & Determined Exterminators?

-Will subservient pops, such as slaves, robots and bio-trophies, gain drastic reductions in administrative costs?

-Will we see a rebalance/expansion of the ethics alignments and civics with this?

-Will Gestalt empires see new civics in relation the proposed machines=tall hive mind=wide playstyle options?

-How will administration pop costs and consumer good pop cost tie into each other, and will it be affected by species' rights options?
 

morangias

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I think we’re getting where we where before: how’s going an empire play tall when pops increase empire sprawl in such manner?
That's my first thought as well. With empire sprawl decoupled from Pops, playing Tall is a legitimate playstyle where you're trying to fit as many pops on as little turf as possible. With Pops affecting Sprawl, we're back to "Tall" meaning "less productive".
 

lpslucasps

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I don`t get it right now how the former post come to the conclusion, that this would be a nerf for machine empires. Really, the Dev Diary seems telling the opposite. Maybe someone can explain it to me.

If it`s really a nerf, then hell yeah, finally a step forword!
Machine empires will get a +100% malus to empire sprawl now.
 

omega13ful

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How would the building from Byzantine Bureaucracy civic be affected? would it just be a super admin office?
 

Sinnaj63

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Cool changes. Will we be able to have bureaucrat species, and a bureaucratic planet specialisation? Vogon Gang

It also does feel odd for Administrators to not give Administration Cap.
 

domein

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Nice! Flat capacity bonuses never worked well for me. Also, increase to sprawl coming from getting next to worthless systems flagged, was kind of unjustified.
 

domein

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Here is an idea - make system sprawl contribution based on total system output, low output systems contribute to sprawl less, high output systems contribute more.
 

morangias

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Here is an idea - make system sprawl contribution based on total system output, low output systems contribute to sprawl less, high output systems contribute more.
That's a terrible idea that would bury any chance of differentiating tall vs wide play.
 

exi123

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Outstanding balance change. Admin caps would become useless anyway around mid-game once science and unity output would ramp up to compensate, so going to a system that's percentage based is both logical and inclusive.

[...]

-Will subservient pops, such as slaves, robots and bio-trophies, gain drastic reductions in administrative costs?

[...]

This would buff all kind of slavery empires and xenophobe ethics drastically. I like the idea of that. And this would go even further if you walk down the gene patch with nerf stapled slaves which could use even less admin-cap? Just an idea.