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Research -Combined effort


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#1 mamutas

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Posted 06 May 2003 - 10:05 AM

Do you think it make sense that all researches in original game do not share information between labs? I think it does not.

All scientists should work together and share their research results. Lets say, you have 4 bases with 100 scientists in each. You should be able to assign all 400 of them to the same project and that would speed up the research process by 4 times.

Manufacturing is another thing. You cannot manufacture the same unit in different bases. Unless of course each base produce some specific part of the unit (kinda like making spaceship in Civ game, where different city makes different parts), but there nothing like that in UFO games.
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#2 GreatGold

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Posted 06 May 2003 - 10:14 AM

Hey -

I think you bring up a briliant point. I agree with your main idea that all research should be shared, allowing for increased research speed.

Perhaps the best way to tackle this issue is to make it into a "do I have the correct facilities for this?" type issue. What I mean is this - I think a new facility should be needed to be built for this to happen. Perhaps a "Communications Center" that each base would need to have built in order to be in on the research network.

I think this should be the case because it acts as a balance. Imagine having 12 bases with 100 scientists each working on the same project...it would take an hour! So if you have a research oriented base than you would build the Communications Center facility...allowing it to share research with any other base that also has the facility. I guess it should be big, exspensive, and take a while to build...otherwise it would unbalance the game..which is why I would guess that the original game didnt allow it.

The same concept could be applied to mannurfacturing larger items such as tanks...aircraft...etc.

What ya think? I love your idea, but I just think it needs to be balanced.

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#3 Breunor

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Posted 06 May 2003 - 02:02 PM

One of the things that has been suggested was to have an administration-type facility, at first just to make a more realistic battlescape view, but later you could add in bonuses for having it there. Your research idea could be one of those benefits. It could include teleconferencing equipment for the scientists to share their data (in respect to what 3D models are needed).

So each base needs this facility to allow the sharing of research. I think you also need the required item at each base, say it's a plasma rifle, each base needs to have one for the scientists to collaborate.

As to building components so that engineers can collaborate, I think it is possible but more complicated. You could have several labs building smaller parts and shipping them to another lab for assembly, but if one has to stop to make something else, the assembling plant also stops of course. And then you have to deal with the timing on keeping parts in supply, etc. It would make the engineering screen a nightmare, as you would then have 3-6 options for every big item you could build, plus the all-in-one option for the item.

There has been suggestions for making the craft more modular, allowing you to upgrade just the engines or weapons or armor on the same platform. That could play well into this system. That is definitely coming after version 1 though.

#4 mamutas

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Posted 06 May 2003 - 02:43 PM

I was not thinking about such a complex situation. :) I guess, realistically, there should be a communication center and the item must be present in each lab to allow collaboration. I was afraid, that this will add complexity to the game and distract players. But lots of those things could be automated, right?

Like, if you are on your research screen, you could see the projects which are going in other bases, so local scientists can join them, or start another project. Yeah, that makes sense. I like it. :)

I guess, we would need to review several collaborative research scenarios before putting it into the release feature list.

I also like the idea of having craft be modular, but no more: having all different parts of the pistol and keeping track of them would be too unpleasant.
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#5 Breunor

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 01:03 PM

I can add that to the version list being worked on, and put it into the "future versions" section. That sounds like a good idea for the research screen, would make it pretty easy to use.

I think it should cost something to collaborate on research, and having a new facility like administration would work. After you build one in a base, that base's scientists have access to other bases with the facility. Simple to implement IMO, a good thing to consider after version 1. You get faster research options, at the cost of increased upkeep. Each facility has a cost and upkeep of course, so that's the trade-off.

#6 Guest_blaa_*

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 01:14 PM

Even from a game mechanics point of view, I think this is acceptable. It may even be easier to program. Could be a double winner!

#7 Breunor

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 01:51 PM

If you can see all the research going on in every base regardless of which base you're at, it prevents duplicating research as well. Perhaps a link in the research screen that lets you switch between bases, and scientists at that base are bolded on the list or sorted to the top, while still showing all the other research projects would be useful. There could also be a "available pool" at the bottom of the list, so as you choose different items to research, free scientists at other bases are put into this pool. They wouldn't be available if they don't have the required items, like a corpse to research, at that base.

#8 GreatGold

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 02:26 PM

Hey -

So heres what I'm thinking...the research interface MUST be 3D...imagine a combination of the X-Men2 idea (from the Tech Forum, if your curious) and something like the Minority Report police screen thingy...might be hard to code...but very very cool. You could pull out the relative data you want from a 3D "databse" screen such as whats happening at a specific base. Or something from the X-net... sweet gee wiz. Ahhh, the possibilities...

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#9 mamutas

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 02:52 PM

I really think it should be put in future release feature list (and not only because it was my idea :)).

We can go and decide how we want to interface to work when we will be closer to implementation.

Also, I agree that there should be a cost for collaboration too.
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#10 Breunor

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 03:39 PM

Already added it to the unofficial list, but that has yet to be reviewed by the senior members. I'm trying to get ideas that have been discussed by a lot of people as good/reasonable/do-able ideas. More to keep track of the ideas than a "definite" list of features. This list will have current "official" version 1 features, likely features for the next major release, then ideas out there that sound good but have no definite release date. Items can be moved around as needed.

#11 Cubik

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 04:37 AM

"There has been suggestions for making the craft more modular, allowing you to upgrade just the engines or weapons or armor on the same platform. That could play well into this system. That is definitely coming after version 1 though."

APOC implemented this, and I thought it worked sweet. On the whole I think that APOC had a way more intresting and refined gameplay than the previous UFO games.

Combined research sounds perfectly resonable, and the need for a special building to access this feature also seems like a wise choice for balancing the games' difficulty.
Now I don't remember, but could you reasearch several things in one base at once in UFO? I think you could do it in APOC, and that always seems fine to me. It slows down research but it allows you to widen your knowledge base. If this wasn't implemented in UFO, I think that it should be.

#12 GreatGold

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 06:02 AM

Hey Cubik -

Yes, it was implemented in UFO, and therefore I assume it will also be in Xenocide!

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#13 Breunor

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 12:46 PM

The X Men concept does look cool, but isn't as intuitive as other options are. Designing it so it's easy to add and delete entries would be much more difficult than other options as well. Both those points could be worked on, but they also move this idea out into the version 2+ realm. Of course, if somebody designs a system that allows relatively easy cut and paste of data and uses open source tools, that's a different matter. :D

CerebellumImage is a java menu tool that can be found here. It has a cool animated system of displaying items, and if the author allows the use of his code, it would be a really cool option to use. Is there an open source verison of Java? I don't know how that would work. I'll send the author an email explaining what we're doing and see what his response is. If we get an OK, I can make a sample version for people to check out.

#14 GreatGold

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 07:53 PM

Breuner Old Chap -

I think you may be on to something... This does look promising, although I'd like to make any finakl version we may implement slightly flashier and more graphic/3D intensive. i figure, if were gonna push the boundaries and make it look cool, while maintaining efficiency, we may as well go out. But this CerebellumImage does present a nice option. Perhaps a melding of Cerebellum/X-men2/and some of our own inginuiity would do the trick...

What we really need to do is get some of the coders in on this discussion, to hear their thoughts.

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#15 Zorg

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 12:02 PM

It would be useful to be able to combine the research efforts from several bases on the one project.

As for balance, the easiest and most practical way is simply to adopt a 'Too many cooks spoil the broth' approach. You can't have more than say, 400 scientists working on any one project as it's just not practicle. They can't work together productivly in such a large group.

If you were feeling particulary adventurous you could have a limit per technology. So while only 50 guys can work on a small project like the medi-kit, 500 can work on 'Ultimate craft technology'.

Adding a facility to allow communication will just leave players thinking, 'So, I am the commander of a multi-million pound effort to save the Earth itself from alien invasion. I have the support of the worlds leading nations and yet I sit here in my incredibly expensive, top secret underground base, 500 metres below the Earth and now I learn that no one bothered to install tele-conferencing and internet access facilities!'

I'd be pretty annoyed. It was always one of the strongest points of the first game that there was very little that made you think 'That's crap' or 'That would never happen'.

Just my 2 cents.

As an aside. An idea I was toying with was to have the rest of the world researching available topics also but at a much slower speed. The idea would be that once the rest of the world had researched it, you would then be available to purchase the gear it allowed along with the mundane kit or, you could buy the technology (at some outrageous price).

The world could only research a tech if you had given it the means (ever wonder what happened to all those plasma rifles and sectoid corpses you sold?).

The purchase price would of course be higher than the cost to manufacture and some thought might be required for the whole Elerium/Alien alloys availability.

It's definetly a post v1 idea but I just though I'd throw it out there.

And that concludes my first post, :D . Hopefully it didn't have too many spelling mistakes.

Cheers,
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#16 GreatGold

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 01:20 PM

Zorg -

An intersting thought. But, having worked in labs for a number of years now, I can attest to the fact that if you have multiple facilities doing a broad range of research you need a dedicated staff to correlate, support, and communicate between locations and projects. I could only imagine this would be doubly so with alien technologies. The facility would be the work space for the staff, their comms equipment, and whatever else they may need it for. The Labratory facilities would be seperate, as this is were the actual research is done. Think of it this way: yes, of course they have internet available, but there is more to communicating and correlating research than that, especially with unkown and hostile species. And you cant waste precious lab space for that!

On a more practical note, game balance is the real heart of the issue. If the research of combined facilities can be balanced without a facility, then perhaps thats the way to go. I just can't think of an even balance at the moment that doesnt involve one.

I do like the idea that there be a limit on the number of scientists to research some techs. But, that sort of goes against some logic, because your doing the research in the first place because you don't know anything about what your doing. The great Werner von Braun(sp?) goes something like this I believe, "Research is what i do whne I dont know what I'm doing." So you woulndt know right off the bat if Elerium was complicated, or so simple as to make you laugh. You would only find out how many scientists are enough as research progresses and the speed can be assessed.

Perhaps the best way to do this is to have a limit of human techs and not on alien ones? That seems like a good compromise, because at least human techs are based on this planet, so we do know SOMETHING at least.

What ya think?
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#17 GreatGold

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 01:25 PM

Hehe, that last post gave me an idea.

Believe it or not, some human technologies are more powerful, or just better than alien ones. So how fiendish would it be if at some point in the game, when facing off against an alien, he shoots at you with a laser. And your like WTF?! But then you think to yourself, "Perhaps they researched it and have that technology now?!"

So what I'm saying is, perhaps aliens should have he ability to research specific human techs and then use them if they wish. Is this programmable, or even a good idea? Discuss.
:idea:

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#18 Deimos

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 04:39 PM

Hehe, that last post gave me an idea.

Believe it or not, some human technologies are more powerful, or just better than alien ones.  So how fiendish would it be if at some point in the game, when facing off against an alien, he shoots at you with a laser.  And your like WTF?!  But then you think to yourself, "Perhaps they researched it and have that technology now?!"

So what I'm saying is, perhaps aliens should have he ability to research specific human techs and then use them if they wish.  Is this programmable, or even a good idea?  Discuss.
:idea:

Gold

That's quite an interesting idea. However I don't know how practical it would be. IE how would the aliens get hold of human tech.

I think the only way aliens would be able to get hold of human tech would be from the player losing all their soldiers in a mission. As most players don't like to let the chips lay where they fall and would rather reload than fail a mission (sometimes I think I'm the only one that that doesn't reload on lost missions) I don't know how successful it would be. Though I'm not saying its a bad idea, quite the opposite. Game balance issues would have to be considered though.

I agree it would be a big suprise for the player that did run with the game.

A game balancing trick could be that as human armour will be set up to maximise protection against alien weapons (IE plasma and elerium based explosives) they'd not be maximised against human tech, so they'd be susceptible to laser and projectile weaponry.

I guess really this would have to do with the alien research and scoring, but it would be fun to see the comments come in about 'the bug where aliens are using human tech' :D

#19 Breunor

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 09:09 PM

I've been playing with a web page for the X-Net system, and have a sample up and running. It currently has generic entries for heavy laser and plasma, HWP, and the XC-1 and XC-11 planes. This is only an interface demo, the entries are just placeholders for now. I expect the pics would be replaced with animated models spinning in place or running through an animated sequence. Sound effects could be loaded for each item that are relevant, etc.

Note: This is based off of a java applet, so if you can't run java apps this won't work. I heard WinXP users don't have Java by default but can download it, I don't know about Linux users (sorry about that). There may be licensing issues with java, etc, but again this is an interface demo only. I've successfully run it using IE and Opera browsers.

The UI can be found here.

The poor man's version of the X Men site... :D Any comments or suggestions? I designed the page based around a maximized 800 by 600 browser display, if you use a higher res it will work fine. It frightens me to see a 19" screen at 800x600 anymore :crying: The java applets link is required because the java app isn't registered.

#20 Breunor

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 10:05 PM

Opensource version of java found here, if anybody who does Java wants to try this.

#21 GreatGold

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 10:41 AM

Breuner -

I replied to this in another post, just wanted to let you know. EXCELLENT WORK! I really love the concept, and see my other post for some comments on design.

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#22 tzuchan

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 08:08 PM

Breunor-
Cool looking interface, but When you open up one of the more "populated" branches, the screen gets cluttered REAL quick.

How about instead of leaving the main tree onscreen when you click on a branch, have the branch that you clicked on zoom to the center of the screen and the rest of the tree hides/disappears?
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#23 revenant4

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 10:50 PM

Ok I just got done looking at the X-NET and I have say it's excellent...I think the reason I like it so much is how different it is...it's usually the unexpected that blows you away and I need to say, Breunor definently has something here...keep up the excellent work...