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Lazy Name

Second Lieutenant
Apr 26, 2020
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A suggestion to make administrative capacity more interesting.

Admin Capacity
This suggestion will replace the current empire-wide empire sprawl system. Instead, each colony has its individual Admin Capacity, that is expressed in a positive number. When a colonies admin capacity is low, that planets specialist output is significantly decreased and stability is decreased. Conversely, when admin capacity is high then stability and specialist output is increased. The admin capacity value is not capped, and could theoretically increase infinitely. A colonies admin capacity is decreased for every pop and district in it, and Bureaucrats and Administrative Office buildings now increase their individual planets admin capacity. Planetary Capitals also create admin capacity, and the capital world always starts with high admin capacity.

A colonies admin capacity is not in isolation. Each colony will try to find their "parent colony" (the colony that has highest admin capacity out of all neighboring systems), and will increase their own capacity by 75% of that colonies capacity as long as the child's capacity does not exceed the parents. For example, if one colony has a capacity of 100, then neighboring colonies will have a capacity of 75, colonies two jumps away will have 56, and ones 3 jumps away will have 42 (this is before the added capacity from planetary capitals).

Each colony now has a new planetary decision, Focus Administrative Capacity. By uses this decision, you can choose any colony to focus on. The colony you choose will have its capacity increased by 200% of the capacity of the colony you used the decision on. However, the latter colony will no longer be able to be chosen as a "parent colony" by neighboring planets, which therefore makes sprawling growth less viable. You can only select colonies as the recipient if they are less then three jumps away.

Overview
So overall, what will these changes do? The trickle effect of admin capacity will encourage creating core areas in an empire, and hopefully feels realistic. The ability to focus admin capacity creates unique decisions: You can choose to sacrifice further outwards growth in favor of increasing the efficiency of your existing worlds, or you can choose to focus on increasing territory at the cost of not being able to enhance core world as much. It should be balanced so that having densely packed planets with neglected admin capacity will always be suboptimal, so that you can't have the both a optimal core and peripheral without dedicating a large number of your worlds to bureaucrats.

This makes tall playstyles more viable, as instead of simply penalizing sprawling it actively creates benefits to playing tall, and it gives a reason to not grow larger by instead allowing you to redirect that growth back into your core worlds. Having it be by planet also allows creates a soft cap on how population dense your planet can be, which could be another way to do the tall vs wide problem.

Of course, I'm not exactly a game designer, and I'm not sure if it would work outside of my head.
 
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Anton1978

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I disagree. We have an empire, we do not have an EMPIRE. Not a feudal state. But the administrative limit should definitely influence crime and people's morale.
 

Lazy Name

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Apr 26, 2020
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413
I disagree. We have an empire, we do not have an EMPIRE. Not a feudal state. But the administrative limit should definitely influence crime and people's morale.

This isn't related to feudalism, though? Admin capacity represents how well the empire is able to manage the details of their colonies, ensuring efficiency and stability. It makes sense that an empire would naturally focus on their capitals and economic hubs rather then faraway newly conquered backwater worlds. And it would obviously be difficult to effectively manage the minutiae of an city billions of light years away without major jumps in technology.
 

MatthewP

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I like the general idea, but the Devil's in the details. The "parent colony" idea is the center of the whole thing and it seems tricky. What does it mean to be a neighboring system? Does it matter if some systems have no parents? For example a high admin capacity system on the border. Or can systems be each other's parents?

I wonder if doing it by sector would be better. Each colony in the capital sector has the capital as its parent. Each sector capital has the capital as its parent, then each other colony has the sector capital as its parent. Then you don't need to define a whole new messy logic and still get more or less what you were shooting for (I think). Then your "focus admin capacity" idea can be done at the sector level too, which to me seems much less overwhelming than having to go through and manage that on each planet. Although I think that idea needs some other tweak, not quite sure what.

Edit: If you want, you could also have the percentage of admin capacity transferred from the capital to each sector capital be affected by distance, so you keep the issues with a far-flung empire and make it necessary to establish high admin sector capitals to keep control.
 
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Lazy Name

Second Lieutenant
Apr 26, 2020
187
413
I like the general idea, but the Devil's in the details. The "parent colony" idea is the center of the whole thing and it seems tricky. What does it mean to be a neighboring system? Does it matter if some systems have no parents? For example a high admin capacity system on the border. Or can systems be each other's parents?

I wonder if doing it by sector would be better. Each colony in the capital sector has the capital as its parent. Each sector capital has the capital as its parent, then each other colony has the sector capital as its parent. Then you don't need to define a whole new messy logic and still get more or less what you were shooting for (I think). Then your "focus admin capacity" idea can be done at the sector level too, which to me seems much less overwhelming than having to go through and manage that on each planet. Although I think that idea needs some other tweak, not quite sure what.

Edited: I now agree that a sector by sector system could also achieve a similar effect, and has the benefit of elegance. However, I personally feel like I doing it that way makes it a bit more restrictive. A sector by sector system does have many parts of the original suggestion; a player would have to create administrative hubs to continue expansion, and would be able to choose areas to focus administrative effort on.

However, by removing the neighboring system parents, it removes the decision between allowing further expansion vs enhancing existing worlds. The increased scale of sectors also makes it less relevant for smaller empires, which I hoped this system would make more viable. It removes the ability to choose how to develop worlds that aren't sector capitals, since you have less ways to interact with an individual planet's admin capacity and at that point you might as well just tie capacity to the sector as well. You can't really create bureaucratic worlds to enhance important worlds, since that would require using an entire sector. And lastly, I just find a planet by planet system feels more natural and less "gamey". A sector by sector approach could certainly be polished to be an interesting suggestion of its own, but it would lose some elements of my original suggestion that I personally like.

Doing it by planet does create more risk of becoming more micro heavy, but I don't think the "Focus Admin Capacity" decision would be too problematic. Ideally, you wouldn't actually be using it on a large number of planets, only developed worlds near core systems. To avoid people being incentivized to use it on every border world, perhaps the decision can only be used when admin capacity is above a certain level to restrict it to its intended purpose.

I tried fleshing out the parent colony system to solve the issues. Neighboring systems are now defined as systems that are one jump away, similarly to the way the game determines bordering empires. A system with no parent can still exist, but only has the base admin capacity from its own jobs and buildings. And lastly, here's a simplified system that I think should work for the parent-child colony relationship and would prevent a child from being larger then their parent. It is somewhat complicated, but it all happens behind the scenes and should be simple enough for the player to understand with good enough graphics.
chBase = child colonies base capacity (from jobs and buildings)
paTotal = parent colonies total capacity
chTotal = child colonies total capacity

if (chBase > paTotal),
-> then chTotal = chBase

If (chBase < paTotal) and ((chBase + 0.75*paTotal) < paTotal),
-> then chTotal = chBase + 0.75*paTotal

if (chBase < paTotal) and ((chBase + 0.75*paTotal) ≥ paTotal),
-> then chTotal = paTotal
So ultimately, while I don't disagree that doing it by sector could work, I don't see any reason why a planetary system couldn't work just as well while still being intuitive to a player.
 
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Anton1978

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Okay, I'll try to explain why I'm against it. With such a mechanic, you can plunge the entire empire into chaos, occupying only one planet - its capital.
Recalculation will occur immediately and planets will not be able to receive bonuses according to the administrative limit.
The very idea of reducing stability on the frontiers of an empire is not bad, but it might just be to impose a stability penalty based on distance. This is easier for a computer to calculate.
 

Lazy Name

Second Lieutenant
Apr 26, 2020
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413
Okay, I'll try to explain why I'm against it. With such a mechanic, you can plunge the entire empire into chaos, occupying only one planet - its capital.
Recalculation will occur immediately and planets will not be able to receive bonuses according to the administrative limit.
The very idea of reducing stability on the frontiers of an empire is not bad, but it might just be to impose a stability penalty based on distance. This is easier for a computer to calculate.

I don't quite understand. It is obviously realistic for an empire to be affected by the capture of their capital. If the problem is in the recalculations after a capital change, your system would have those problems as well.

With my system, each world checks for a neighboring world with high capacity. With yours, I presume each world checks for their distance from the capital. Using my system, if the capital is conquered then every worlds admin capacity will be recalculated, changing the productivity of every pop. Using a stability penalty based on distance from the capital, if the capital is conquered... then every worlds stability will be recalculated, changing the productivity of every pop.

I admit that my suggestion does increase the number of calculations that must be done, but I don't see how it makes that big of a difference considering complex systems are already in the game.