Stellaris Dev Diary #215 - Gameplay themes & Balancing considerations

Hello everyone!

First I want to thank you for the overwhelming support that you’ve shown us with announcing the Custodians initiative. It’s been really fun and motivating to see so many positive responses, and for that we’re truly thankful. At the same time, I must admit that it is also a bit scary in the sense that we shouldn’t have the expectation that this will suddenly resolve any issues you might have with the game, or that we’ll be able to deliver large amounts of significant changes with every update. Let’s appreciate this opportunity and make the best of it :)

Species Pack Gameplay Themes
Last week we already talked about what the Lem Update (honoring the author Stanislaw Lem) would focus on, but I’d also like to go into more detail regarding some things.

We mentioned that we would be adding gameplay to the Humanoids Species Pack and the Plantoids Species Pack, and although I won’t talk about the exact details yet, I do want to talk a little about how we approached it, and the themes we chose.

Plantoids was a bit easier, because there are some obvious fantasies. Going around the themes of growth and plants we’re adding some new traits, civics and origin. We felt like it made sense to open up these gameplay additions to both Plantoid portraits as well as for Fungoids.

Humanoids was a bit trickier, because there are no direct fantasies that apply to them in general, so we instead chose to focus on fantasies that align with things like dwarves, elves, orcs or humans. The Civic we showcased last week was an example of how we made something inspired by a traditionally dwarven fantasy.

Let us know about any ideas or thoughts you have regarding those :)

We will be talking more about these in much greater detail later, but that may possibly be in August.

Game Balance
We’re going to take a look at reworking some of the major outstanding balance issues that we’re having.

One example that I want to talk about is the issue with Research Booming, where power players can essentially outpace other empires due to focusing a lot on research. What enables this is usually Districts that provide Researcher Jobs, which is relatively easy to gain access to early on through Origins such as Shattered Ring or Void Dwellers (the latter not being nearly as strong).

For Shattered Ring we are looking into changing the start from a pure “end-game” Ring World, to be more of an actual “Shattered Ring” that you need to repair before you gain access to the powerful Districts of the Ring World. Putting additional emphasis on the fantasy of restoring this ancient megastructure to its former glory can be a fun addition to the Origin itself. Although we haven’t decided exactly what we’re doing, changing the start to be a Shattered Ring that you can restore with the Mega-Engineering technology is a likely route.

Unity & Empire Sprawl
Beyond Lem, we are also going to take a look at Empire Sprawl and Unity. The design for Admin Capacity was never really something that I felt worked out, and we never finished the design that was intended for it. Continuing to use Admin Cap as a mechanic also feels a bit like a dead end due to multiple reasons (ranging from design to technical), so we’re instead going to look into another solution.

I have a design for doubling down on using Unity as the resource for internal management, removing Admin Cap entirely, and to make Empire Sprawl something that you can never mitigate anymore. More sprawling empires will always suffer harsher penalties from Empire Sprawl, and we’ll instead focus on how Unity can be used internally to mitigate some of those penalties. Examples could be Edicts that have a Unity Upkeep Cost, and perhaps reduce the Research Cost Penalty induced by Empire Sprawl. Angry Pops could potentially also have a Unity Upkeep Cost, to represent the drain on your society.

Note that these ideas are very much in their infancy and very prone to change. We will probably start talking a bit more about that once Lem has been released, but I wanted to share some thoughts with you so that we could gather some initial feedback.

------

That’s all for this week folks! We’re in the middle of reviewing our dev diary schedule, so we’re hoping to be back with 2 more dev diaries before we take a summer break. We’ll keep you in the loop as we go.
 
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Unity & Empire Sprawl
Beyond Lem, we are also going to take a look at Empire Sprawl and Unity. The design for Admin Capacity was never really something that I felt worked out, and we never finished the design that was intended for it. Continuing to use Admin Cap as a mechanic also feels a bit like a dead end due to multiple reasons (ranging from design to technical), so we’re instead going to look into another solution.

I have a design for doubling down on using Unity as the resource for internal management, removing Admin Cap entirely, and to make Empire Sprawl something that you can never mitigate anymore. More sprawling empires will always suffer harsher penalties from Empire Sprawl, and we’ll instead focus on how Unity can be used internally to mitigate some of those penalties. Examples could be Edicts that have a Unity Upkeep Cost, and perhaps reduce the Research Cost Penalty induced by Empire Sprawl. Angry Pops could potentially also have a Unity Upkeep Cost, to represent the drain on your society.

Note that these ideas are very much in their infancy and very prone to change. We will probably start talking a bit more about that once Lem has been released, but I wanted to share some thoughts with you so that we could gather some initial feedback.
I'm all for a rework of Empire Sprawl and Admin Cap. But that said, I think it should go hand in hand with a rework of sector and vassal mechanics. As the game stands, empire sprawl means little and it's too easy to make galaxy wide empires. Every sector is the same and I never create vassal empires from the sector menu. I'd like to see large empires be prone to collapsing under the weight of the bureaucracy needed to manage them. And rimworlds, outer worlds, inner planets, and core worlds be meaningful terms. And having a need to create vassals to reduce empire sprawl in a large empire.

For sectors, I would like to see a mechanic where distance from the capital plays a role. Maybe worlds x number of jumps from the capital are prone to high amenities needs/have higher sprawl impact and going over admin cap increases that amenities penalty. This way rimworlds are less stable and more prone to crime, rebellion and more ethics divergence than core worlds. And if you build a gateway you can reduce the x number of jumps from the capital so the penalty is reduced in late game. And by having too many rimworlds you may be more prone to creating vassal states from the sectors to deal with the empire sprawl impact.

For vassals, I would like if the integration time was eliminated or made as a modifier penalty with differences between vassals created from sectors and vassals created from other empires. This way I could create and remove vassals at will to deal with empire sprawl's impact. Maybe the feudal society or nobles civic could play a role too in terms of penalties or bonuses from vassals. And vassals created from sectors would contribute taxes and levies (unlike how vassals work today (only levies)) that could be modified based on empire sprawl (if the empire is too big, vassals pay less taxes as the central administration is too overwhelmed to handle it). And maybe distance from the capital could play a role too with sector vassal mechanics (further from the capital vassals are more likely to rebel/pay less taxes/levy).

These are just my thoughts to make empire sprawl and admin cap more meaningful with some mechanics of the game I rarely use. I think the original thought behind Admin Cap was to mimic centralization and authority from games like CK2. And from the other comments using Unity to balance it out makes sense to me as a game mechanic and I look forward to what you'll do. As the system stands today it feels like a number I'm just trying to not make red.
 
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Pancakelord

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Unity & Empire Sprawl
Beyond Lem, we are also going to take a look at Empire Sprawl and Unity. The design for Admin Capacity was never really something that I felt worked out, and we never finished the design that was intended for it. Continuing to use Admin Cap as a mechanic also feels a bit like a dead end due to multiple reasons (ranging from design to technical), so we’re instead going to look into another solution.

I have a design for doubling down on using Unity as the resource for internal management, removing Admin Cap entirely, and to make Empire Sprawl something that you can never mitigate anymore. More sprawling empires will always suffer harsher penalties from Empire Sprawl, and we’ll instead focus on how Unity can be used internally to mitigate some of those penalties. Examples could be Edicts that have a Unity Upkeep Cost, and perhaps reduce the Research Cost Penalty induced by Empire Sprawl. Angry Pops could potentially also have a Unity Upkeep Cost, to represent the drain on your society.

Note that these ideas are very much in their infancy and very prone to change. We will probably start talking a bit more about that once Lem has been released, but I wanted to share some thoughts with you so that we could gather some initial feedback.
For feedback on this, I'm all for it and think it could be a big shakeup - see this for my thoughts (though the focus was slightly different to what you're going for, by manipulating admin cap/sprawl, too).

One example that I want to talk about is the issue with Research Booming, where power players can essentially outpace other empires due to focusing a lot on research. What enables this is usually Districts that provide Researcher Jobs, which is relatively easy to gain access to early on through Origins such as Shattered Ring or Void Dwellers (the latter not being nearly as strong).
Research districts are usually just a win-harder option in my experience, with the "snowball" nature of, well everything, in stellaris, the issue is rather with how the AI interacts with Research Labs in my opinion. The root issue is that players know to stack labs whilst the AI doesn't. Part of the problem is that the AI says
  1. I need "research = econ target research"
  2. #1 isnt met, so build a lab somewhere.
  3. repeat 1 and 2 ( potentially with a higher weight on certain worlds).
Whilst a player will say
  • I need KA battleships,
  • I need as much science as I can snort.
  • Lets set aside a world and plaster it in labs,
Even someone that doesn't min-max is likely to do this early on, as they're reinforced by the "designation" mechanic, which encourages this kind of clustering of same-type jobs. And yes districts offer more science later (currently research costs being largely negated by admin cap etc) but the real issue is in that first half century or so, that's make or break for most empires with snowballing/booming (and, for example, is why a primitive>Ftl will never really catch up or be a relevant force in the timeframe of the game - outside of 1000+ year fast-forward montages on youtube).

What would you/the team, think of re-working labs, to work with cities? Something like:
Science lab
Planet unique
T1 Adds
+2 scientists
+1 scientist per 2 city districts on planet (1 per 1 city district if set to Tech world designation)
T2 Adds
-25% upkeep of scientists
+doubles the positive effect of 'scientific focus' perpetual planet decision
T3 Adds
-50% upkeep of scientists
+triples the positive effect of 'scientific focus' perpetual planet decision

Planet decision 'scientific focus' (perpetual)
+50%/100%/150% Phys OR Soc OR Eng output
-50% output for other two science branches
(Scientists consume extra unity? Gas?)

It makes sense, to me, that labs would only really work in tandem with existing infrastructure, and this preserves the uniqueness of "dedicated" research districts, which would need to be tuned to be more science efficient overall.

There is also the tangential, but separate, issue of AIs not really having "Technology Goals" - if you could instruct the AIs to try and gun for Battleships or specific techs like that they might also move up tech trees a bit faster.
I looked at a few (hackish) ways of doing this, here, a while ago.

Humanoids was a bit trickier, because there are no direct fantasies that apply to them in general, so we instead chose to focus on fantasies that align with things like dwarves, elves, orcs or humans. The Civic we showcased last week was an example of how we made something inspired by a traditionally dwarven fantasy.

Let us know about any ideas or thoughts you have regarding those :)
Some ideas, I've put in brackets the inspiration:
"Warlust" Civic (Orcs)
  • Reduce unit costs (e.g. armies and ships) by X% Alloys OR X% minerals, as applicable, adding Y% Unity as a cost instead,
    • if in a defensive war, this scales up to 2x% and 2y% when at 100% war exhaustion.
  • X% increase to overall unity output if youve won an invasion or space battle in the last "insert time period".
"Haughty Diplomats" civic (Elves) -
  • Other races insults and weaken relations are only 1/2 as effective vs you.
  • Your insults and worsen relations are 2x as effective,
  • You can make demands of vassalisation/tributation vs powers stronger than you (not just weaker or equivalent)
  • and make rivals that are weaker than you (at a reduced influence payout).
"Unassuming Society" civic (Halflings) -
  • Take 50% less orbital bombardment damage
  • Enemies are more likely (there are base values for this in war files, not sure if they can be made conditional?) to agree to white peace if the war-leader has this civic.
  • Your ships have +30% chance to successfully combat-retreat. Science ships have a +60% chance.
"Polycultural" civic (Men) -
  • This society never lost it's cultural heterogeneity, this has made it's people particularly open to the customs, languages and ideas of beings from other worlds.
  • Increase Happiness on a world, for every different (non-subspecies) present +5% per species (stacks up to 40%)
  • Reduce amenities upkeep for pops on a world, for every different (non-subspecies) present -5% per species (stacks up to 40%)
  • +1% stability on all worlds per migration pact you have (or if in federation with migration on, 1% per member) [Stacks up to 50%].
"Rift Touched World" (Origin) -
  • You design your standard species as normal, but they will only make up, say, 10~15 pops on start.
  • Over a few years, you'll start getting events, rifts appearing on your homeworld (or maybe scannable anomalies on nearby worlds in your home system, requiring an army transport for pickup) - other aliens (from your portrait group, so Necroids, if you are playing as a necroid) start emerging from these rifts.
  • They have diverse ethics, and maybe story chains forcing you to grapple with pop-political power changing, and stability shifts, You have to integrate them.
  • They'd have randomly rolled traits to not be too optimal (though you could script them, so a batch of 5 pops are "worker-optimal", e.g. strong, another 5 are "science optimal", being intelligent, with other negative traits thrown in (like strong, but highly criminal dwarves).
  • Now you basically have a fantasy world with laser guns.
 
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Stellaris is a game that's primarily played single player. A focus on strict balance at the cost of homogenizing the gameplay experience removes replayability and dulls the feedback/gameplay loop, and makes the game worse as a value proposition. That is, too much balance harms everyone. A ring world nerf is NOT needed, and it's NOT really a good idea. If Paradox wants to shift the Stellaris community towards multiplayer over single player for whatever reason, then they need to fix the 1990s net code. A multi-player game should never desync under every day conditions. Stellaris desyncs 100% of the time when a new player joins, and half the time when you pause. This is either a good SP game or a piss-poor MP game, and if it was me, I'd want to have the good game and not the piss-poor one.
 
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sr999

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...One example that I want to talk about is the issue with Research Booming, where power players can essentially outpace other empires due to focusing a lot on research. What enables this is usually Districts that provide Researcher Jobs, which is relatively easy to gain access to early on through Origins such as Shattered Ring or Void Dwellers (the latter not being nearly as strong)...
I'm kind of amused by this. I agree. I personally like to flip between Shattered Ring and Doomsday origins, depending on mood music / masochism.:) Your intended solution will mix that up a bit - I've never actually tried Void Dwellers, and now I have a reason!
 

SeraphAscending

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What would you/the team, think of re-working labs, to work with cities? Something like:

Science lab
Planet unique
T1 Adds
+2 scientists
+1 scientist per 2 city districts on planet (1 per 1 city district if set to Tech world designation)
T2 Adds
-25% upkeep of scientists
+doubles the positive effect of 'scientific focus' perpetual planet decision
T3 Adds
-50% upkeep of scientists
+triples the positive effect of 'scientific focus' perpetual planet decision

Planet decision 'scientific focus' (perpetual)
+50%/100%/150% Phys OR Soc OR Eng output
-50% output for other two science branches
(Scientists consume extra unity? Gas?)
I do think this would be pretty insane. -50% upkeep? If you have other -% upkeep sources your scientists are basically free.
Your total need of CG or minerals to produce science would drop to near nothing meaning your economy needs a lot less overhead (if you see this from an Input Resources / Output Science perspective).

To be fair, you would require the designation to make significant use of it - so non-tech worlds would have very little use for labs.
It is very much doubling down on the need for specialised tech worlds.

Those numbers should probably be tweaked significantly, but i don't dislike the idea.
I generally like the approach of more specialised worlds as it makes losing a world a significant issue. If every planet was self-sufficient, your economy wouldn't mind the loss of a planet beyond a lower total resource output.

Also:
I really do like the specialisation of science branches. It is something i am not happy with in the current game.
 

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Some ideas, I've put in brackets the inspiration:
"Warlust" Civic (Orcs)
  • Reduce unit costs (e.g. armies and ships) by X% Alloys OR X% minerals, as applicable, adding Y% Unity as a cost instead,
    • if in a defensive war, this scales up to 2x% and 2y% when at 100% war exhaustion.
  • X% increase to overall unity output if youve won an invasion or space battle in the last "insert time period".
"Haughty Diplomats" civic (Elves) -
  • Other races insults and weaken relations are only 1/2 as effective vs you.
  • Your insults and worsen relations are 2x as effective,
  • You can make demands of vassalisation/tributation vs powers stronger than you (not just weaker or equivalent)
  • and make rivals that are weaker than you (at a reduced influence payout).
"Unassuming Society" civic (Halflings) -
  • Take 50% less orbital bombardment damage
  • Enemies are more likely (there are base values for this in war files, not sure if they can be made conditional?) to agree to white peace if the war-leader has this civic.
  • Your ships have +30% chance to successfully combat-retreat. Science ships have a +60% chance.
"Polycultural" civic (Men) -
  • This society never lost it's cultural heterogeneity, this has made it's people particularly open to the customs, languages and ideas of beings from other worlds.
  • Increase Happiness on a world, for every different (non-subspecies) present +5% per species (stacks up to 40%)
  • Reduce amenities upkeep for pops on a world, for every different (non-subspecies) present -5% per species (stacks up to 40%)
  • +1% stability on all worlds per migration pact you have (or if in federation with migration on, 1% per member) [Stacks up to 50%].
"Rift Touched World" (Origin) -
  • You design your standard species as normal, but they will only make up, say, 10~15 pops on start.
  • Over a few years, you'll start getting events, rifts appearing on your homeworld (or maybe scannable anomalies on nearby worlds in your home system, requiring an army transport for pickup) - other aliens (from your portrait group, so Necroids, if you are playing as a necroid) start emerging from these rifts.
  • They have diverse ethics, and maybe story chains forcing you to grapple with pop-political power changing, and stability shifts, You have to integrate them.
  • They'd have randomly rolled traits to not be too optimal (though you could script them, so a batch of 5 pops are "worker-optimal", e.g. strong, another 5 are "science optimal", being intelligent, with other negative traits thrown in (like strong, but highly criminal dwarves).
  • Now you basically have a fantasy world with laser guns.
yes.
 
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Ikael

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All of that sounds AWESOME.

Humanoids was a bit trickier, because there are no direct fantasies that apply to them in general, so we instead chose to focus on fantasies that align with things like dwarves, elves, orcs or humans. The Civic we showcased last week was an example of how we made something inspired by a traditionally dwarven fantasy.

Let us know about any ideas or thoughts you have regarding those :)

There's a ton of potential there when it comes to fleshing out those!

Subterranean dwellings (dwarves, orcs): All your planets have +1 extra unique "subterranean" district (miner & technician jobs? extra building slots?)
Attuned to the shroud (fairies and all kinds of magical creatures): All your species leaders have an X% chance to get the Psychic trait, despite not having unlocked "mind over matter" (will greatly increase upon the adoption of those). Psi ascension related jobs provide extra output
Enhanced vision (cyclops, elves): +15% accuracy to your ships, +5% unity and physics research from jobs
Legendary weaponsmith tradition (elves, dwarves): All your ships cost +10% more resources to be built, but they all have a +30% bonus to their HP. Your ground armies also share these effects. In short, fewer, but far sturdier, "higher quality" spaceships
Masterful chefs (hobbits): +5% happiness, +10% Food and amenities from jobs. Because happy bellies make people happy too!
Eternal youth (elves): +5% growth speed, +30 years leader lifespan, other humanoid species living in the same planet as one pop with this trait will receive +5% happiness *cough*

I am sure that I can come up with more with a bit more alcohol in my veins, and more number-tuning.


One example that I want to talk about is the issue with Research Booming, where power players can essentially outpace other empires due to focusing a lot on research. What enables this is usually Districts that provide Researcher Jobs, which is relatively easy to gain access to early on through Origins such as Shattered Ring or Void Dwellers (the latter not being nearly as strong).

I am not sure of that. I mean, Shattered Ring is a powerful origin, no doubt, but you can also generate a ridiculous amount of science just by employing regular methods with regular empires and origins. Research jobs are aplenty in this game. Either this, or there are numbers that need to be tweaked.

Unity & Empire Sprawl
Beyond Lem, we are also going to take a look at Empire Sprawl and Unity. The design for Admin Capacity was never really something that I felt worked out, and we never finished the design that was intended for it. Continuing to use Admin Cap as a mechanic also feels a bit like a dead end due to multiple reasons (ranging from design to technical), so we’re instead going to look into another solution.

I have a design for doubling down on using Unity as the resource for internal management, removing Admin Cap entirely, and to make Empire Sprawl something that you can never mitigate anymore. More sprawling empires will always suffer harsher penalties from Empire Sprawl, and we’ll instead focus on how Unity can be used internally to mitigate some of those penalties. Examples could be Edicts that have a Unity Upkeep Cost, and perhaps reduce the Research Cost Penalty induced by Empire Sprawl. Angry Pops could potentially also have a Unity Upkeep Cost, to represent the drain on your society.

Note that these ideas are very much in their infancy and very prone to change. We will probably start talking a bit more about that once Lem has been released, but I wanted to share some thoughts with you so that we could gather some initial feedback.

Now, this is amazing. I would love to see new emergent, tall playstyles coming out from this experimentation. There was a tread about alternate uses to unity where similar suggestions were made: unity as some kind of "indicator" of your empire's cohesion, with constant sources of demand of unity, a maximum cap, and benefits for having a high level of unity output, rather than being an "expendable" resource. Alternatively, it could also have the role of some "soft power" kind of mechanic. I dunno, there are a lot of great directions and possible uses for unity experimentation, other than "fulfill every tradition tree, then forget about it".
 

Pancakelord

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I do think this would be pretty insane. -50% upkeep? If you have other -% upkeep sources your scientists are basically free.
Your total need of CG or minerals to produce science would drop to near nothing meaning your economy needs a lot less overhead (if you see this from an Input Resources / Output Science perspective).

To be fair, you would require the designation to make significant use of it - so non-tech worlds would have very little use for labs.
It is very much doubling down on the need for specialised tech worlds.
Yeah at a certain point I gave up trying to think up rational values, they'd definitely need to be toned down. Think of it more as highlighting the relative increase from T1-2-3 that matters (the other way to go is to scrap T2/3 labs, and instead have the T2 lab be "Pick Engineering focus, Pick Biolab Focus, pick Physics focus, Pick generic lab focus - rolling that planet decision into the building itself).

And I'm all for specialised worlds, this is just a ... less chaotic way of specialising them. With the current setup. if an AI is to build a Techworld (like a player), it needs to roll a weighted dice every time it choses to build a building, pick a lab, and do that repeatedly.

The AI is pretty good at figuring out what districts it needs. All you'd need to do is tell it
  1. Never build a science lab on a world without city districts.
  2. sometimes build a world on a lab with 1%-40% city districts.
  3. Always build a lab on a world with >40% city districts, on the Capital and Sector Capitals (just as a fallback).
  4. If
    • Is AI AND
    • 60%+ of world is city districts AND
    • it has a Lab, but does not satisfy a Mine/Gen/Agri/Alloy/CG or refinery designation (most of this is redundant per the above 60% condition, but better to be safe)
    • set to Tech World.
There will be some edge-cases with the above, and it can be tweaked etc, but broadly speaking, the AI only has to follow those conditions to start clustering its scientists. It's just a Simpler system, has less player micro (just throw down a lab, designate and spam cities), works with existing districts, will lead to a "probably" more powerful AI.
 
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vladerag

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Oh for the love of god please no. Your changes to pop growth were already painful, and now you are removing administrative capacity!? The next update is going to hurt, isn't it?
 
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endymon

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I was thinking perhaps admin cap could borrow some ideas from Imperator and be reworked to be similar to stability. Bonuses to high stability, and penalties for low. Furthermore rapid expansion (either through colonization or conquest) would lower your stability thus causing additional problems to empire management.
You could then setup a system where the "midpoint" that it decays to is changable based on some factor. EG sprawling empires without sufficent unity would have be inherently more unstable, you could counteract it with enough effort, but it would cost you.
 
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UwePhse

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Let us know about any ideas or thoughts you have regarding those :)
All kinds of ideas and suggestions? Or just those that target "Species Pack Gameplay Themes"?

Just as an example what "I" mean:

German support page
German-language forum page

Ideas for the game:
Starting size of planets
+1 very large
-1 small
-2 very small

Galaxy riches
+2 very rich
+1 rich
-1 poor
 

FelisLeo

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I was talking with a friend at work and came up with an idea for a Humanoid Origin that I think would be very fun and unique.

Martian Invasion!: Start as humans in the Sol system in December of the year 2199 as Martians are invading Earth.

Unlike every other start in Stellaris that begins with a text box, you would start the game already engaged in a ground battle against the Martian invaders, then once you win you get your text box celebrating the human victory, explaining that you salvaged Martian technology to make ships, and then saying "...but the threat isn't over yet. Now we must take the fight to the Martians!" and beginning an event chain for taking Mars by force. After attacking and claiming Mars, you get the prize of finding a fully intact Martian flying saucer equipped as a science ship that the Martians had likely been using to observe Earth. Then you get a message saying now that you know with grim certainty there is other intelligent life out there, it's time to start exploring!

The only other origin at the moment that really goes all in on story and basically puts you in a specific scenario is the Doomsday origin, so I think it could be really cool to explore more origins that come with more of a story already in place to start. It fits a pretty core sci-fi trope of alien invasions in a way that nothing else in Stellaris currently does. Infiltration on pre-ftl civs kind of touches on it, but only lets you play the part of the invader. Plus, who wouldn't want science ships with a unique flying saucer model. And anytime you see that flying saucer in game it would give an instant understanding of the story that happened for that human empire, which is also kind of unique when it comes to encountering other civs.

Like any of the existing origins, there would be potential balance concerns about letting an empire get a second colony so quickly. For this scenario it also wouldn't make sense to start with your home system fully surveyed with mining stations pre-built.
 
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Benjie164

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I like the idea of changing admin cap but I'm not a huge on making it so that it can't be mitigated. To me it becomes that impossible calculation of, is it worth expanding or not? I feel like it would flip us back to the days of playing tall. I like the idea of changing it to unity, I almost never personally build unity buildings and I've always feel admin offices were a bit of a waste as they only had a single use and I hated the drain on consumer goods so I feel that would be a good idea. Overall everything else sounds good and I'm excited to see what you guys do :D
 

NilQ

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I didn’t get to read through all 13+ pages of this thread so I apologize if someone else suggested these ideas:

1. What if you upped the consumer goods upkeep on Researchers and Bureaucrats some more? Could the need for additional Artisans and Minerals curb Research Bloom or Sprawl?

2. What about a Proximity mechanic? Something like, the farther your pops are from Admin sources (Capital maybe?), the more their Admin cost. This could force empires to distribute Admin buildings amongst their planets, taking valuable building slots. Pops covered by Admin sources on the same planet would be the standard 0.5 upkeep and Pops covered by Admin sources from other planets could have Admin upkeep increased by 0.1 per hyperlane. The same could work for anything else that uses Admin for upkeep.
 
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InfectedAdri

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Let us know about any ideas or thoughts you have regarding those :)
Elven fantasies often gravitate around purity and nobility, maybe something could be done there with a Fanatic Purifiers/Aristocracy civic mix? a civic that would help such gameplay maybe?
I say that because whenever I do a Fanatic Purifiers empire, I go for the humanoid elf portrait haha
 

bzflater

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Elven fantasies often gravitate around purity and nobility, maybe something could be done there with a Fanatic Purifiers/Aristocracy civic mix? a civic that would help such gameplay maybe?
I say that because whenever I do a Fanatic Purifiers empire, I go for the humanoid elf portrait haha
The main elven fantasies imo are:
-Smugness
-Purity/Nobility
-Being generally ancient or even immortal
-Magic/Psionics/Spiritualism
-Being in tune with nature
I could see any or all or even those being made into civics.
 

ASGeek2012

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The more I think on it, the more I see a separate main file, with multiple txt files inside. Each main file could have one programmer.

ai_jobs
ai_ship_design
ai_military_actions
ai_difficulty
ai_diplomacy
ai_buildings
ai_galactic_community
ai_technology
ai_traditions_ascensions
ai_first_contact
ai_anomalies/precursor/events
And what if modifying the logic in one file affects how it interacts with other files?

You cannot arbitrarily divide up a project like that without knowing the full implications of the dependencies they have. It may be that the best solution is to have one or two programmers working on it who have a solid understanding of how the AI works as a whole. You're making rather sweeping assumptions that may or may not be true.

Throwing more people at a problem does not necessarily make the solution come faster. Take a look at the Starnet AI mod. I have not used it myself, but a lot of people have good things to say about it. It was coded by ONE person (at least from what I can glean from the webpage for it). I don't think it would have been as good if it had been coded by committee.
 
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ASGeek2012

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For tech booming could you introduce a mechanic like EU4's tech tree where you get bonuses and penalties to researching techs when you are ahead or behind schedule? That way you can be super cutting edge tech-wise, but it gets more expensive the farther out you are. Similarly the reverse could help be a catch-up mechanic?
The problem with this approach is: who or what gets to decide what's "ahead" or "behind"?

EU4 has the advantage that it takes place during a known period in human history. We know the approximate dates of certain advances in tech, so there exists a reference that's difficult to argue against. If this were implemented in Stellaris, it would be by it's very nature arbitrary and thus would suffer a lot of backlash.
 
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HistoricalScore1

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And what if modifying the logic in one file affects how it interacts with other files?
I mean, yeah, that's exactly what comes up many times in a single day with the coders I do know. That's what short meetings are for. Or instant messaging like Slack. There's also that super useful option to execute what's done and see what errors occur. A lot of community mods aren't scripted by just one person. Bannerlord Tweaks for Mount and Blade is not just one coder.

You cannot arbitrarily divide up a project like that without knowing the full implications of the dependencies they have.

Uh. Yeah. I know.
It may be that the best solution is to have one or two programmers working on it who have a solid understanding of how the AI works as a whole. You're making rather sweeping assumptions that may or may not be true.

You're also making a statement that may or may not be true. How do you know the person who wrote those files is still on PDS Green? Someone pointed out to me that folks move around a lot over there.
Throwing more people at a problem does not necessarily make the solution come faster. Take a look at the Starnet AI mod. I have not used it myself, but a lot of people have good things to say about it. It was coded by ONE person (at least from what I can glean from the webpage for it). I don't think it would have been as good if it had been coded by committee.

True. This is also true. Throwing more people at a problem does not necessarily make the solution come slower.

I'd rather not assume where I don't need to and have @slv speak on it himself. Salvor, do you have an idea how long you spent scripting StarNet in total? How long before the first release? And as we've discussed you're limited by what is modifiable, correct? You can't add behaviors that don't exist. For example, an AI Empire Force Resettlement of Pops. Or am I mistaken?

-------------
Also just going to put this at the end of every statement I make regarding this subject.

I have no idea how many people and their roles (how many designers, how many graphic artists, how many programmers, etc. etc.) are on the PDS Green team, let alone the Quality Team. I should have said as many coders as they can fit. If 10 reasonable partitions and number of coders > 10, still 10 coders, not more. But I assumed they have less coders than they have reasonable partitions. And I suspect this will take months. Though I'd expect internally there's many quick iterations that can go to QA to break it. I believe in the "fail fast" approach of Agile. They don't need to release an all-in-one AI patch. I'd prefer incremental. For example, they could implement improved pop_jobs like I started here (took me over 10 hours of scripting and testing, and it's still not great) one patch. Then ship_design another. In the end, they'll do what they're going to do. But until/if I get more information about scope of the Quality Team, I won't know how much they can actually handle.
 
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