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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.)

1605711370874.png
1605711378849.png

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.

1605711480292.png
1605711496833.png
1605711511728.png
1605711521188.png
1605711530973.png

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.
1605711566787.png
1605711585016.png
1605711593479.png
1605711601512.png

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.

1605711621995.png
1605711632042.png
1605711641350.png
1605711651091.png
1605711658034.png

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

1605711691774.png


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.)

1605711771358.png
1605711779670.png
1605711789149.png


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.

1605711797879.png

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

1605711927580.png
 
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Also for authoritarians and slavers: This is a nerf, because slaves and livestock and such will tank your base species growth. OUCH!!

they could easily fix this by adding a modifier for how you treath a pop in the counting . for example, exterminator should not be slowed in theyr growth by pops that are being exterminated .
hat only happens if the "pop farm" planet has jobs available, right?

fast fix to this too, high unemplyment should reduce growth speed on a planet ( it make sense too ) and the absence of jobs should reduce it too , buffing a bit clercks so ppl will feel the waste to close those jobs , and making a planet that has alot of free space likely for migrants ( since there is a future where you will build new things ) .

So you have the decadent effect of not svilupping a planet by your own will , and new colonies will be prioritized by migrants thx to the free space modifier .

maxing out your EP with housing districts only , and see your growth speed reduced by unemployment or jobs absence . you can still exploit the system by just having those pops moved by turning off all clerk jobs to add the auto-migration effect from theyr mass clerk jobs.

for this you could add a degradation system , where if you have excessive unemployment (talking about 50% of the planet pops) on a planet ( that is not damaged by bombing , events , etc) your pops start to die out .

you can still turn off just 10-20 jobs evry few years , but if you had to build such a planetary scale efforts of administration , resources and tech ; i think a growh planet you can have .
 
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This doesn't affect how you setup any 1 planet though, right?


That only happens if the "pop farm" planet has jobs available, right?
1. Pop growth or total growth points is the same, once you normalize the values to one-another.

2. Housing districts add jobs. So not sure how close to the S curve you would be, and are you willing to not utilize a colony and leave it half (or less than half) capacity empty?
 
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Could you please buff Leisure District to add +10 Bio-Trophy jobs each for Rogue Servitors instead of only +5? They're vastly outmatched by even the base Organic Sanctuary building, making them not worth building on a habitat at all.
 
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Hmm.. does any DLC content interact with content of another DLC directly in Stellaris? If not, then I guess this is due to technical limitations of game engine. If so, then there will never be such a thing as necrophage gestalt. :/
This is a game policy not engine limtation. It would be bad for the game if you need a dlc for a dlc. On the cons however old dlcs feels lacking and left behind. In eu4 the solution was to integrate old mechanics to the base game making them "free" that way you can rewamp them freely when new content comes.
 
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I love the new pop efficiency techs. I was allready using them in my modded games. If this is victoria in space, it makes sense to have pop output boosted over time, and at the end game boosted more with repeatables. it removes burden on you to constantly expand, and can make empires with a small footprint be powerful.

It should have been in the game since version 1.0
 
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These changes are definitely a move in the right direction. I kind of liked how the older system had more pops, but I can definitely understand why nixing it for performance reasons would be a logical call.

Will there be changes to make purge worlds less effective as well? It feels supremely odd how each pop on it produces resources, while the death rate is static... Surely a purge world with a larger population should purge more quickly?
 
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Very exciting dev diary, definitely the sort of changes I've been waiting for for the last year.

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.


This is a solid start, but I'm a bit leery of its effects on game balance. The issue with an S-shaped curve, as others have pointed out, is that it's very advantageous to try and get to the center of the S ASAP in every planet. Back when I used the carrying capacity mod, it was pretty easy to game pop growth as a player by resettling and building robots. Now thanks to the influence cost for resettlement this is not as easy, but it's still easy to build robots (or pops now) and re-settle them. Overall this isn't well balanced and only encourages more micromanagement; plus there's even more incentive to use robots or resettle low-cost pops to get past the initial slow pop growth stage. At a minimum could you have only organic pops contribute to the carrying capacity boost in order to alleviate this?

Another concern is about how carrying capacity is calculated; if its based off planetary size that'd be bad for basic resource worlds, but if its based off housing/districts that could encourage gamey strategies.

The global increase in cost of making a new pop with empire size is a solid and badly needed brake on "wide" empires. It'll essentially acts to counter-balance the pop growth boost you get from settling multiple planets. I can't say exactly how it'll play out without seeing more; how quickly does it increase?

Overall these seem like solid changes that'll help alleviate some of the balance, performance, and micromanagement issues around pops, but I'm concerned that you're introducing several new layers of complexity here, and with the migration reworks, to fix issues that could also be solved by a much more mechanically simple method of empire-wide pop growth. You could get the same end result you seem to be aiming for here by just having pops grow empire-wide, top bounded by a total "carrying capacity" of your empire. That'd get the same result while avoiding a lot of the micromanagement and potential for exploits and imbalances.

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

View attachment 653804
Just one example of many.

...

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.

Don't forget that you also need to re-look at balance from things like space deposits, anomaly rewards, etc... those are all still balanced around pre-megacorp values. Another major issue around balance is how research rate is directly proportional to pop number now that bureaucrats reduce empire sprawl penalties to nil. Bigger empires will research much faster, which is one of the biggest things pushing snowballs downhill.

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.
View attachment 653817View attachment 653818View attachment 653819View attachment 653820

The ecumenopolis has a unique distinction of being able to have both the Factory and Foundry building lines on the same planet.

Would it also be possible to have ecumenopoli require a certain number of pops to build as well? It always struck me as funny that I could just build a bunch of empty city districts, wave a magic wand, and turn a mostly empty world into a giant, mostly unpopulated, city world.
 
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10% chance per month? 70% chance per year? It takes more than a year to grow a pop (currently, although it's meant to be slower in the patch, right?). So Democracy, hubs, and all that stuff is kind of pointless because you'll probably have had an unemployed pop move off-world before a new one even finishes being built with the BASE number.
It's a cool feature that I am happy to see, but buildings and civics that buff it are just bait.
 
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Most buildings have been standardized to now give 2 jobs per tier rather than the old 2/5/8 progression.
Not the best idea: to double building job capacity you have to pay ten times the upkeep.
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.)
Seem kind of arbitrary.

Also, why clone vats need food, while spawning pools do not? Back in the day the idea for hive minds was to move them toward food upkeeps - why was that scrapped anyway? Finally finding a niche use for most useless resource was considered too OP?
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.
And so habitability buff of hospitals is back again. Not sure if it's worth it considering ease of getting more habitability... although, for cyborgs on machine worlds and with some resolutions in place might be worth considering.
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.
So, you are slowly reversing past changes? Not sure I get the idea.
The Shattered Ring origin now possesses a warning that it may be a Challenging Origin for Lithoids due to a scarcity of minerals
Why? Why must you clutter all possible information into one giant wall-of-text of a tooltip? Is it so hard to make them adjustable based on player choices? Just add a warning icon on a tab where origin is selected or something - would work way better, I think, since such things are only going to pile up as you put in more content.
and now also applies the Ring World Habitability Preference to your pops.
FInally. Now make it possible to fully restore the thing.
The ecumenopolis has a unique distinction of being able to have both the Factory and Foundry building lines on the same planet.
So, your plan is to turn every Ecumenopolis in research world? Because it'll be the only use for excess housing you're creating here.
The changes to Habitat modules are much smaller in scope, but here’s the list of their districts.
This is what you should have changed more, tbh.
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.
And what about Ecuenopolis? Research World designation for life?
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.
And how does it work, exactly? Base chance of 0% (unless you have Greater than Ourselves of Transit Hub) multiplied by 1.5?
One other little quality of life improvement that was just added is this filter on the colonization interface.
Unrealistic: in such "egalitarian" society you'd have few dozen half-founder species after you filter them up :p
 
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aveRAGEboii

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I’m so happy for all those changes. I literally asked few weeks ago about that colonization inprovement and it’s happening. Late game will be nicely manageable and early game more agro.
I know these diaries are about economy, but will we look at armies? Make them more important and interesting because now I can spawn whatever army and still can capture anything. There are civics that are more RP than helpful for the armies or completely useless as the strength of legions civic for hiveminds.
Also, space battles could have some more love like formations and weapon balancing. For example adding flank ability to corvettes and being able to utilize even battleships for close range instead of just carriers and artillery, because now they’re just to weak for close range combat against corvette swarm.
Also, space ships could fly around stars and planets and not through them. Black holes and pulsar/neutron stars would make a “bigger circle” of a danger zone so it would take longer time to go around them. These are just quick ideas.
Love your new updates.
 
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Ranuth

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

View attachment 653804

My play experience has been that one of the primary benefits of upgrading buildings (as opposed to building multiple ones) is that you get more jobs when upgrading buildings. (2 research labs, for example, gives me 4 jobs, whereas upgrading to a research complex would give me 5, which makes the tradeoff ALWAYS worth it). If we're going to be moving to a 2/4/6 scale insteed of 2/5/8, aside from to save space, what benefit is there to upgrading a building? Or is saving space supposed to be the primary benefit in and of itself?
 
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Don_Quigleone

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While I approve of generally cutting the number of pops, and the conversion of cloning vats to organic pop assembly, I feel like there are a few problems. In particular it produces even more incentives to do gamey things to maximise pop growth (ie aiming to keep all planets half full), and it still keeps the original problem that 10 planets with 10 pops have 10 times the growth of 1 planet with hundred pops.

It would be better if number of planets owned was less of a factor, or to reintroduce mechanics that balance small and large empires against each other.
 
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Gali77

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As a spiritualist player it is quite fitting that they finally remade the pop growth system and it made spiritualists and psi ascension even weaker. Not only will we be massively outgrown by synthetic players but now genetic ascension as well. ALso so fitting that of all the incredibly weak bonuses identified already spiritualist was not buffed or even mentioned. Such is the fate of the spiritualist always weak and ignore das much as hive minds.

At least hive minds got a origin
 
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Ch4rybde

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As a spiritualist player it is quite fitting that they finally remade the pop growth system and it made spiritualists and psi ascension even weaker. Not only will we be massively outgrown by synthetic players but now genetic ascension as well. ALso so fitting that of all the incredibly weak bonuses identified already spiritualist was not buffed or even mentioned. Such is the fate of the spiritualist always weak and ignore das much as hive minds.
Matter over Mind;)
 
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arosenberger14

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While I approve of generally cutting the number of pops, and the conversion of cloning vats to organic pop assembly, I feel like there are a few problems. In particular it produces even more incentives to do gamey things to maximise pop growth (ie aiming to keep all planets half full), and it still keeps the original problem that 10 planets with 10 pops have 10 times the growth of 1 planet with hundred pops.

It would be better if number of planets owned was less of a factor, or to reintroduce mechanics that balance small and large empires against each other.
I think that's what the global increase in pop growth cost with empire population is supposed to achieve, but we can't really say how effective that'll be yet.
 

G S Palmer

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

1605711331057.png
You might want to adjust the energy upkeep to reflect that as well.
 
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Don_Quigleone

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As a spiritualist player it is quite fitting that they finally remade the pop growth system and it made spiritualists and psi ascension even weaker. Not only will we be massively outgrown by synthetic players but now genetic ascension as well. ALso so fitting that of all the incredibly weak bonuses identified already spiritualist was not buffed or even mentioned. Such is the fate of the spiritualist always weak and ignore das much as hive minds.

At least hive minds got a origin
I agree. I think a good balance would be if psi Ascension gave some kind of production bonuses. So you have less pops but they produce more. Perhaps producing ~1 extra base resource for all jobs?
 

InvisibleBison

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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.
What is going on in-universe to make this happen? Are people on rural planets not having kids out of a concern that their kids might one day move to a densely populated city world and not be able to find somewhere to live or something? Gameplay mechanics that don't make any sense are bad mechanics.
 
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