Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Dev Diary #18: Colony Development Part II

Quark02

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I have one question. In AoW3 the only way to win was city spawn 'cause every city was giving smth there were no penalties for many cities. Will smth be done in AoW:pF?
Consider this - cities are not allowed to exist in adjacent sectors. Only empty sectors can support a city. City spam is discouraged by forcing a minimum distance between cities (I fear even more so than in AoW2) + having fewer places when you are able/allowed to settle. It may not make much sense lore-wise (sectors are pretty arbitrary), but that is how it is.

Also settling near independents can make them angry.
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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I have one question. In AoW3 the only way to win was city spawn 'cause every city was giving smth there were no penalties for many cities. Will smth be done in AoW:pF?


Only way to win???

The last time someone tried city spam on me they were the first to die in our match.

Edit : besides the development diary answers your questions anyway.


City growth gated by colonists gated by food (and happiness ) which means dependent on terrain.

And cities cost upkeep.


All new stuff.
 

Sounds

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I think this diary has put me over the edge to an day one must have. :)

Any chance we'll see this before the end of December? Santa also needs his fix too ;)
 

Neb_

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Hi guys! Glad you all liked the dev diary, I'll try and tackle the most prominent questions I came across and see if I can shed some light on things!

I'm kinda hoping the colonist system gets expanded in the future (like an expansion) so colonists doing the same job for X turns become specialists (better at the given job but lose the bonus if moved) or a chance for any new colonist to become a Talent (a bit of a SMAC reference) which simply produced more regardless of job, stuff like that.

We have been looking into specialized colonists and colonists types, but the added complexity to our already complex economy was not worth the development time at the point of consideration. We have not ruled it out for in the future though!

Really happy about defenses. Have wanted destructible turrets (and maybe other defensive structures) to spice up sieges for a long time. I guess "repeating" just means it gets 1 shot per ap?

Correct! With a repeating attack we mean it fires once per AP the unit has, assault rifles and such are a classic example of a repeating attack in Planetfall.

Quick question- if I'm understanding this right, every additional colonist requires more food?

Correct, each new colonist has what we call a 'colonist acquisition threshold' of Food that is needed to get that colonist, this expands on a logistics growth model, meaning it grows exponentially up until a certain point until it starts to decay again.

Happiness events seem a little bland. Have you thought about adding some interesting ones in there? Random Cosmite would be an easy one. With all the new colony structure building going on, perhaps they could give you a free unit built as well (since it looks like you are less likely to be building units when you get the 3x production event). Maybe rarely you could get a random mod created by an eccentric inventor or a new sector feature could be created/upgraded?

Probably an idea for an expansion, but how about Colonies coming up with their own quests. They would request something and if you provide it within X turns you get a lump happiness (and maybe influence) reward. AoW3 has a weird situation where you couldn't get any more race happiness boosts if you had annexed all the cities of that race, because only external cities would give quests.

We have looked into both of these; making Happiness events more interesting and Quests originating from your own colony. We have designs and systems in place for both of these but we are running out of development time, it looks like these will have to wait for a possible future dlc or expansion (no promises though!).

"Another is imposing Martial Law, which will also remove Colonists over time at the cost of economic penalties." Should that say Rioters instead of Colonists? Or does it actually just kill the Colonists that are rioting. That seems like a huge economic penalty.

Martial Law will have a (minorish) chance to kill a colonist when it converts a rioter back to a regular colonists, we call this 'deadly riots'. Martial Law is a serious button to press, and it comes with penalties, but it will help the player in times of strife to deal with rioters and to stabilize their colony. Mostly they will just convert rioters back into regular colonists however, this is subject to balance as all things, and we'll be looking to you all for feedback during beta!

Finally: Do we have control over the turrets?

The turrets are not player controlled, they have an AI targeting system and they will fire at the start of your turn as defender, so they do their thing, then you can mop up whatever they weakened afterwards!

Doesn't production also overflow if you have nothing queued and just count as bonus towards what you select next?

Correct, Production now overflows into your next construction project, even if you have nothing queued, whatever new thing you place in the queue has production overflow applied to it. Research cannot be queued but works in a similar way, where the research overflow is just applied to the next skill you select. If you wait one turn however, that overflow will be wasted!

Consider this - cities are not allowed to exist in adjacent sectors. Only empty sectors can support a city. City spam is discouraged by forcing a minimum distance between cities (I fear even more so than in AoW2) + having fewer places when you are able/allowed to settle. It may not make much sense lore-wise (sectors are pretty arbitrary), but that is how it is.

Also settling near independents can make them angry.

The world map is built around clusters of valuable sectors, inter spaced with (at least economical) dead zones. We are aiming to have most of the city founding and territory gameplay to revolve around more valuable areas of the world map. Between the 'cannot found adjacent to other colonies' and 'settling next to NPC's makes them angry with you' you will find that, using the new sector system, places for colony founding are more rare, and more valuable. While spamming cities is certainly a thing that can be done still, it will be much more limited in Planetfall (unless playing a 12-player sized map with 2 players of course!)

I hope I managed to shed some light on things, any other questions let me know!
 

Fluksen

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[long and very informative text] ...places for colony founding are more rare, and more valuable[...]
But that still doesn't quite answer whether or not having more cities will always be better than having 2-3 "megacities". So is it possible to focus on 2-3 cities that you develop (tall) and still compete with someone that went out and snagged lets say ~7 cities (wide) at the mentioned spots but will therefore not be able to fully develop them within any reasonable amount of time?
From what we've seen and heard I'm inclined to say probably tall might be doable, especially since some upgrades seem to give percentual increase of resource(s)?
Beside that it's very cool that playing wide now really seems to spread your defenses thin.
I'm very much looking forward to this game! And thank you very much for your post above @Neb_
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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Thanks @Fenraellis .

Does this mean 4 possible locations, but one Turret, or 4 turrets no matter what?

And are those turrets unlocked at the same time, or is each one something that occupies the build queue for a while?

Are all the turrets the same?

Can they be upgraded?

Will there be other types of city defence, e.g. mobility reducers, deployable obstacles etc?
 

Liberty_Valance

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The defences are interesting, and colonist come to your defence i think i read, thats also awesome. Hoping we can litter outside our walls with landmines and other various traps or maybe barbed fences? Inflicting bleed to organics while they are moving through. Also be qlso interesting if some turrets could work as a defensive, like random heals or buffs. I also had an idea where you spawn a handful of EMU's ,emergency mechanised units, a bunch of non combatant robots that just auto run around repairing crap.
 

Damkac

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If you lose starving colonist could you also lose sector? For example if you have 6 colonist and 3 sectors but you lose one colonist will you lose sector too?
 

Neb_

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But that still doesn't quite answer whether or not having more cities will always be better than having 2-3 "megacities". So is it possible to focus on 2-3 cities that you develop (tall) and still compete with someone that went out and snagged lets say ~7 cities (wide) at the mentioned spots but will therefore not be able to fully develop them within any reasonable amount of time?
From what we've seen and heard I'm inclined to say probably tall might be doable, especially since some upgrades seem to give percentual increase of resource(s)?
Beside that it's very cool that playing wide now really seems to spread your defenses thin.
I'm very much looking forward to this game! And thank you very much for your post above @Neb_

You're very welcome! As for the Tall versus wide debate, that is always a very tricky balance to achieve. There are definite benefits to building tall over wide in regards to economy as you mentioned, but via for example food sharing, a highly upgraded food supplying colony could boost early development colonies very easily. Multiple production queues is definitely very valuable, but the amount of income you need for higher tier units mean you will be at a military disadvantage going wide around the mid to late game. As with anything, the balance will most likely lie somewhere in the middle, but with possible early game rushes when going wide a possible strategy. It is hard to know exactly where the meta will land with the current balance, which is why we need all of you to play the crap out of the beta when its live and let us know!

Thanks @Fenraellis .

Does this mean 4 possible locations, but one Turret, or 4 turrets no matter what?

And are those turrets unlocked at the same time, or is each one something that occupies the build queue for a while?

Are all the turrets the same?

Can they be upgraded?

Will there be other types of city defence, e.g. mobility reducers, deployable obstacles etc?

Currently you build a single colony structure, that gives you the four turrets whenever you are engaged in tactical combat on your colony center, you don't have to build them individually. Each race gets their own version of a defence turret (race of the city, not the player!) We have plans to develop the city defense systems further, including defensive support structures etc, but for now that is not on the priority list.

The defences are interesting, and colonist come to your defence i think i read, thats also awesome. Hoping we can litter outside our walls with landmines and other various traps or maybe barbed fences? Inflicting bleed to organics while they are moving through. Also be qlso interesting if some turrets could work as a defensive, like random heals or buffs. I also had an idea where you spawn a handful of EMU's ,emergency mechanised units, a bunch of non combatant robots that just auto run around repairing crap.

All great ideas! We were also concepting a lot of very cool, racially themed unique defenses but we unfortunately have to be pragmatic in this stage of development, we are definitely looking into these kinds of mechanics for future content though!

If you lose starving colonist could you also lose sector? For example if you have 6 colonist and 3 sectors but you lose one colonist will you lose sector too?

Your sector limit cannot degrade at this time, though as always this is subject to change. This means that once you unlock the ability to grab a new sector, nothing can take that away from the colony again, even if it loses all of its colonists and turns into a ghost town!

You guys are keeping up the trend of reminding me of all these great designs which proved to be either impractical after much testing or simply too development time heavy for the payoff right now as we are pushing towards finishing the game. Rest assured that we will drag all of this back up when we are looking at expansion and DLC content, we want just as much as you guys to have all these niche and minor features that would enrich the game!

o7
 

HousePet

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Rest assured that we will drag all of this back up when we are looking at expansion and DLC content, we want just as much as you guys to have all these niche and minor features that would enrich the game!
Yep, in my experience the minor features are just as important as the major features.
Like horseradish or mustard in a roast meat sandwich.
 

Dr_K

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Your sector limit cannot degrade at this time, though as always this is subject to change. This means that once you unlock the ability to grab a new sector, nothing can take that away from the colony again, even if it loses all of its colonists and turns into a ghost town!

If your colonist count drops to 0, are there any side effects beyond losing the extra producing capacity of the missing colonists?

To clarify, if the sector limit can't degrade, can we still add sectors to it if the limit hasn't been reached. In the example of having 6 colonists and dropping to 3, if the settlement only had 2 annexed sectors before the famine, we could annex a third, even while the population is set to 3?


Is that a salute, or are you hanging upside and don't have a left eye? o7o

Like horseradish or mustard in a roast meat sandwich.

Not sure I'd call potent spreads like those "minor" parts of a sandwich. :)
 

Neb_

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If your colonist count drops to 0, are there any side effects beyond losing the extra producing capacity of the missing colonists?

To clarify, if the sector limit can't degrade, can we still add sectors to it if the limit hasn't been reached. In the example of having 6 colonists and dropping to 3, if the settlement only had 2 annexed sectors before the famine, we could annex a third, even while the population is set to 3?

Correct, if you have enough colonists to raise the sector limit of a colony from 2 to 3 sectors, you will always be able to annex 3 sectors to that colony, even if you end up losing all your colonists in that colony. We had a more complicated system here before, including under-population etc, which might make a return before release, but for now this is the way it is!

Is that a salute, or are you hanging upside and don't have a left eye? o7o

It was meant as a salute! but now I'm not sure anymore...
 

TheDarkMaster

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Is there anything fudging the random happiness boost so that cities that focus on one resource get a bonus to that one? Also to make sure that we never get useless happiness boosts like energy on a city that produces little to no energy?
 

Fenraellis

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Well, first I would say that's the trade off of focusing on a particular resource type. Chance for mediocre yields on non-focused resources, but also the chance for amazing yields if they boost the focused resource.

Alternately, they may weight things a little towards resource types which have higher relative yield weights. For example:
120 Energy, 40 Knowledge, 60 Growth, 80 Production.
Total yield value = 300
Relative 40% weighting towards Energy events.
13.33~% towards Knowledge events.
20% towards Growth events.
26.66~% towards Production events.

It would be an interesting system, I suppose.
 

HousePet

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Weighting towards values you already produce could be counter-productive, as it means you can't use Happiness as a random bit of everything resource. Happiness events would just boost what you were already getting. Ideally going for happiness events should be a choice. But there is a lot of potential here for it to end up as either a no-brainer max it situation, or bare minimum to stop riots because going for the base resources is more productive.

There are two broad options:
1) Happiness boosts what you are already aiming for, but semi randomly at fixed intervals.
2) Happiness boosts things at random, which potentially covers holes that you might not be able to fill easily (due to terrain/research/whatever).

The first option sounds like it may as well just be a % modifier on yields due to happiness again, as the randomness is going to smooth to that over time anyway.
The second option won't work too well if its just a 3x multiplier to something you aren't producing much of.

Perhaps is the event gave resources based on the number of colonists instead?