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Stellaris Dev Diary #192 : Perfectly Balanced, As All Things Should Be...

Hello!

This week we’re going to look at some more changes we're planning, as well as a review of how some of the experiments mentioned in the last few dev diaries have evolved.

Thank you for the massive amount of feedback in those threads.

Reduction in Pops

Due to the effects on performance and a desire to reduce the micromanagement burden in the mid to late game, some of the things we’ve been deeply looking into are different ways of dramatically reducing the number of pops in the galaxy.

These experiments have generally revolved around modifying the growth (or assembly required) for pops as an empire’s population grows, with some variants trying a logistic pop growth (where growth follows an S-shaped curve as planets develop, based on a carrying capacity of a planet). These experiments have reduced the end date pop count to somewhere around one half of the old numbers with the expected performance improvements.

Organic pops will follow a curve where they begin at standard population growth, increase growth as the approach a midpoint between population and the planetary carrying capacity, then slow down to zero as they reach the top of the curve. Pop Assembly, on the other hand, is generally slow but consistent. The biggest change is that producing a new pop no longer costs a static amount of pop growth - it increases as the empire population does.

A significant reduction in pops has a cascade of major implications for the overall economy, production, and other gameplay effects. As such, these also require a pass on buildings, technologies, and even seemingly minor ripple effects like what the value should be for the trade value generated by pops.

There will be a lot of patch notes.

Most buildings have been standardized to now give 2 jobs per tier rather than the old 2/5/8 progression.

1605711331057.png

Just one example of many.

We’ve also changed a few buildings to have new or additional features, such as the Spawning Pool and Clone Vats, which have had their Pop Growth modifiers replaced with the new Organic Pop Assembly. This fills the same slot on the planet as Robotic Pop Assembly, so generally you’ll want to pick one or the other. (Clone Vats also picked up a food upkeep cost to represent simple materials to break down.)

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Pops is Soylent Green!

A few other jobs got minor perks added to them, like the Medical Workers from Gene Clinics making it a little easier to live on less hospitable worlds.

1605711434441.png

Doesn't normally produce exotic gas, this one happens to be a lithoid.

And a few new techs have been added to help compensate for lost productivity. One tech line increases both the job production of a planet as well as job upkeep - those fewer pops are still capable of producing the work of more on a developed planet.

Ring Worlds

As part of the balance pass, Ring Worlds have been bumped up to 10 segments from 5, and the jobs per segment have been adjusted.

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The Shattered Ring origin now possesses a warning that it may be a Challenging Origin for Lithoids due to a scarcity of minerals, and now also applies the Ring World Habitability Preference to your pops. We’re considering adding a similar warning for Hives selecting the origin, since the habitability preference change puts a serious crimp in their expansion.

1605711541929.png

Put a ring on it?

Their starting blockers have also been adjusted to give a more balanced spread of jobs.

Ecumenopoleis

Like the Ring Worlds, these start with all building slots open. As mentioned before, you can now use the Arcology Project decision on a planet that has a mix of City and Industrial Districts.

Note: Empire has all technologies but no traditions active.
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The ecumenopolis has a unique distinction of being able to have both the Factory and Foundry building lines on the same planet.

Habitats

The changes to Habitat modules are much smaller in scope, but here’s the list of their districts.

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Void Dwellers have gotten a bit of attention as well with some tradition swaps for those that had minimal or no beneficial effects for them.

1605711683433.png

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Replacing Public Works Division:
1605711706121.png


And for Void Dwellers with the Adaptability tree:
1605711724002.png


Interstellar Franchising and Imperious Architecture now also function for Habitats.

Updates to Dev Diary 190

Some of these updates may not be new to people following the forum threads, but it's easy to miss things so I figured we should go over them.

Many people requested the ability to fully specialize their foundry and factory worlds. We've modified the Forge and Industrial World planet designations to shift one pop on each Industrial District to the appropriate job if possible.

1605711738324.png
1605711745816.png


We've also upgraded the Food Processing Center, Mineral Purification Hub, and Energy Nexus to provide an extra job to each of their associated resource production districts. (The Food Processing Center will also improve Hydroponics Farms.)

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One of the suggestions made in the thread was to add a civic that increases unlocked Building Slots. Sounded like a great addition to Functional Architecture.

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Functionality increased!

Updates to Dev Diary 191

We’ve explored some additional options regarding the resettlement system we outlined in Dev Diary 191, and after trying a few things, and have settled on some extensive modifications to the system.

All planets with free sapient unemployed pops that are not locked down by migration controls will have a small chance every month of moving one to another planet within their empire that has jobs that they are willing and able to work, housing, and habitability of 40% or higher. This chance is increased if there are multiple unemployed pops that meet the criteria.

The system now prefers to move higher strata pops first, so rulers and specialists will move before workers, and this system also functions for gestalt empires. It will not relocate non-sapient robots or slaves. It will generally prefer to move pops to the planets with the most free jobs.

After some experimentation we’ve chosen to keep the Transit Hubs as Starbase Buildings that provide a system wide buff to the chance of auto-resettlement occurring. (Rather than being essential to have it occur in the first place.)

1605711834820.png

Doubles the chance the pops choose to resettle themselves.

Greater Than Ourselves has been rewritten to also massively increase this chance when the edict is active, with a +200% bonus.

We initially had these pops considering destinations available through Migration Pacts as well, but decided against keeping that since it introduced a new Migration Controls micromanagement element that we didn’t find desirable.

We’ve also done a minor update to the Authority bonuses that seemed a little bit weak.

1605711874350.png

1605711882524.png


Democracies now have a bonus encouraging their pops to seek their dreams, and Dictatorships have a bit of an easier time holding things together when they’re a bit overstretched.

Closing Thoughts

One other little quality of life improvement that was just added is this filter on the colonization interface.

Colonisation QoL.gif


That’s probably long enough for today. We’re looking forward to your feedback on these as well.

Next week w̷e̵'̸l̸l̴ ̴b̸e̴t̵̮̄ǎ̸͈l̷̠̈k̴͔͂i̴̞͒n̷̪͊g̸̳͗ ̸͚̎a̵͉̐b̵̤̿ȯ̴̲ṵ̵̀t̸͇͂ ҈҂▒©╛⅜

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Exciting! I'm fine having fewer pops in the galaxy. The cloning vats now actually seem quite interesting. Buildings cloning vats on newly colonized planets to rapidly build the population gives me some really cool sci-fi imagery.

Have the "growth from immigration" modifiers been changed with the new resettlement system?

I still imagine I'll play a mono-species culture because dealing with multiple species is too much of a pain in the neck.
 
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Everything is moving in a generally positive direction but I don't understand the dev desire to build inefficiencies into pop relocation and build a lot of mechanics around mitigating it (percentage chances, buffs to these from edicts and buildings). Why not just move them at a 100% chance without all these extras?

The main reason might be that they want to keep the flavor of freedom of movement and choices to the egalitarian ethos. If they allow every ethos to equally automate relocation of pops egalitarians would lose a kind of "ID" card.
 
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On the districts for the habitat and ring world, will there still be plain energy versions for Hive Minds, since they have no use for the trade value jobs?

Kind of liking the look of all this. Definitely interested in the Void Born changes, I always wanted to play with that origin more but it felt so tricky to use with how so much of the traditions and stuff just didn't apply to habitats.
 
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So it takes more to grow a single Pop, the more Pops you have in your empire? Why is this? Is it just a mechanic to slow down the number of Pops, or is it representing something?
 
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Annihilat0r

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They're not mutually exclusive, but only one pop can be assembled at a time, so you'll generally want to build one or the other.
In this case, you might consider making them mutually exclusive, in order to not confuse players who don't read the forums. It is always possible to replace one with the other if necessary, making it more intuitive that only one can be assembled at any given time.
 
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We’ve also done a minor update to the Authority bonuses that seemed a little bit weak.

Sorry, but they're still a lot weak. Even with the associated features/mechanics, authorities have very little impact and don't differentiate empires nearly enough. They are still a template choice, that restricts a few civic choices and maybe the government type you are allocated. Big whoop.
 
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Does the title mean that we will get a new Crisis about a warlord seeking to destroy half/all (as appropriate) of life in the galaxy?

Is it just me or does Organic Pop Assembly feel inherently wrong?
Shouldn't it be something like Organic Pop incubation?
Just you. I like to imagine Fallout 4 style assembly.
 
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There are some things, like technologies, that mitigate the production reduction to some degree.

These techs already exist in the game currently. Also, please don't put even more weight on the tech roulette.

Also, what about megastructures? If the average resource output is lower, their already great resource output will become only greater,

What about the ship meta? if losses become more costly to replace due to lower resource output, it will make BBs nothing but even better.

What about civics that increase the resource output of certain pops? Less pops means those civics become less valuable.
 
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Does it mean that now in order to speed up pop growth on a planet, i just spam city district to achieve max housing and then gradually replace them with resource productive ones?
 
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Wait, just +1% habitability for medical worker?! Are you kidding? It seems too small and useless
Pretty gross, huh?
In the current version:
* Gene Clinics give 2 medical workers.
* Cyto-Revitalization Centers give 5 medical workers.
That's 2% and 5% respectively. And if the extra growth speed works on both regular growth speed and pop *ulgh* assembly *puke* that's basically double the value. But I suspect that pop *retch* assembly isn't affected by growth speed modifiers.
 
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@Eladrin Hi! Love the changes!! it looks like the mod "Stellaris Immortal" won and you are going towards this direction. Great! Cool! Love!

1. You mentioned "Planetary Carrying Capacity" but didn't expand upon as this is not in the game. Is this a fixed value as is used and added by several mods, or is it just the current housing? I.e. I build more districts/housing buildings and pop growth increases to match the new S curve. This would make it extremely important to pre-build housing!

2. Can't yet digest the pop growth semantics, need to play that version, but any system that results into less overal pops is good at this stage. At 17.000 pops my rig is almost dead for processing the days... So, Bravo! For this change!

3. I see we're getting pop efficiency techs! Much needed! Any chance of Adding a +1% production repeatable (or something to that effect?)

4. What about migration mechanics? Please elaborate on how they work with the new system.
 
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Mealya

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I'm worried about the impact of the Industrial district on Ring Worlds, especially on Ecumenopolis.

An Ecumenopolis is very long to create and was until then THE alloys factory/cons. goods. Now... I can build as many ring world as I want... Faster... Have one more ascension perk without the Ecumenopolis one... So what the point of Ecumenopolis ?

Should we linked the building time of an Ecumenopolis to the megastructure building time ? (master builder, Living Metal Mega-Construction,...)

It is maybe a false worry but... The numbers clearly make me think about it, and I'm not even talking about changes in population growth on Ecumenopolis... So... Possible nerf or not ?
 
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Spaceception

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In the current version:
* Gene Clinics give 2 medical workers.
* Cyto-Revitalization Centers give 5 medical workers.
That's 2% and 5% respectively. And if the extra growth speed works on both regular growth speed and pop *ulgh* assembly *puke* that's basically double the value. But I suspect that pop *retch* assembly isn't affected by growth speed modifiers.
If it is though, that's a solid bonus, and it would be much more attractive than ever to build gene clinics if you're going down gene ascension.

EDIT: has there been any experiments towards eliminating upkeep on districts/buildings until a pop works it, so you can pre-build? Maybe with just half the sprawl penalty if you want it to have something?
 
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Weyird

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I feel like Organic Pop Assembly shouldn't be affected by the s-shape curve stuff, it should be a flat number if there's a lot of space, and the same flat number if there isn't a lot of space. The s-shape curve is because of how living populations live and reproduce. The pop production shouldn't be affected by that.
 
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Vilcoyote

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clone vat is still wrong for me because it assume that creating a pop would cost 30 food no matter the amount of population already on the planet whereas a natural growth would require one more food for each new pops
the same applies to robot where a energy nor alloy deficit affect production whereas a food deficit will put a malus on organic population (or maybe the clone vats will also get a bypass and will produce pops event without food to run it?)
 

Deshiba

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As part of the balance pass, Ring Worlds have been bumped up...
...and now also applies the Ring World Habitability Preference to your pops.
Finally, Ring world habitation should have been on that origin since the start imho. Always seemed pretty naff that only the Void Dwellers got hit with the balance hammer.

On the point of balance. Is there a chance that Post-Apocalyptic and Remnants could get another pass too?

Post-Apocalyptic would do with a bit of tomb world habitability. Maybe even take after Necroids and have the guarenteed worlds spawn as Tomb Words?

As for Remnants, with the different building system could they get the void dweller treatment, by which I mean have no actual food districts but start off with the Hydroponic farms technology unlocked and have a Hydroponic farm building on site?
 
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Juboboman

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Big step cutting the pops in half. Seems like there was no other choice though. Ever since the explosion in pops devs have been playing catchup with performance, and I'm sure there were a lot of great gameplay ideas that were never able to be implemented because a zillion pops trying to handle them would fry a NASA supercomputer.
 
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Shirasik

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Wait, just +1% habitability for medical worker?! Are you kidding? It seems too small and useless
Depends. It's useless when you has 10 pops on a planet (i.e. on a newly-established colony). But having +5% to general habitability for 100+ pops will make a significant deal to production to consmuption ratio with reasonable cost of 5 pops and 1 building slot. So it's rather mid-late buff for gene clinics than redesigning medworkers for new meta.
 
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