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Inefficient Research

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#1 doubleSkulls



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Posted 24 May 2005 - 10:55 PM

In RL if you put more people into a piece of work is normally takes more effort to finish than if you had only one.

If you have 5 people working on a project then they might take 5 man-weeks to finish it. If you put 10 people on the same project they would almost certainly take more than 2.5 weeks. That's just because they have to spend time communicating and coordinating their efforts.

It always bugged me that in XCOM 100 scientists worked 100 times faster than 1. Realistically it ought to be much slower than that (maybe 50 times or something).

In gameplay terms it would make it more efficient to research several projects simultaneously rather than one at a time - which IMO feels a more natural approach to things. Also it has a background feel because it might make specialistation of your researchers better too. A biologist might be really good chopping up a corpse but won't be so good helping invent Laser Rifles....

So you'd have smaller research teams working on multiple concurrent projects. Does anyone else think that would enhance the game?

#2 T-1



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Posted 25 May 2005 - 07:21 AM

I believe this has been discussed before. I am neutral on the subject. Others support it for similar reasons to you. Others don't like it because they think that gameplay wise it'd be better and easier to balance the old way.

#3 Snakeman



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Posted 25 May 2005 - 09:24 PM

Another way you could do it, using doubleskull's line of thought here, is kinda go the way similar of how Apoc did scientists and engineers. Give 'em a generic male or female face, and a science/engineering stat from 25-100 or something.

You wouldn't have to hire in as much bulk as we did with the first UFO game. You could adjust times to completion based on how many are assigned but also on their science/engineering knowledge percentage. The higher they are, the more pricy their pay, but you get timely results if you spread them out to projects that jibe with their expertise, i.e. human tech/tools, alien biology, alien ships, alien weapons, etc.

In a way, it doesn't make much sense any would come to you with knowledge on 'alien anything', but I guess the point is the same. Chemistry, biology, physics. I think these three types would be generic enough for purposes like this. Engineers could be something like Weapons, Tools, Ships and Facility Construction.

To make this a little less frustrating in terms of hiring, occasionally give a scientist or engineer two categories instead of just one i.e. Scientist Jack - Chemistry 65% Biology 35%. Engineer Jill - Facility Construction 55% Weapons 70%

Any one of them can work in any category they are not experts in, it just takes longer to complete.

#4 doubleSkulls



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Posted 25 May 2005 - 09:51 PM

I did some quick sums and if you say that for every scientist after the 1st productivity is a 98% for every scientist on the project then you get the following productivity.

# = number of scientists working
Total = total productivity, i.e. total amount of research produced.
Margin = marginal productivity. i.e. how much more is produced by adding one scientist to the project

#   Total   Margin
1    1.00   1.00
2    1.96   0.96
3    2.88   0.92
4    3.76   0.88
5    4.61   0.85
10   8.34   0.68
20   13.62  0.42
30   16.70  0.23
40   18.19  0.09
50   18.58  0.00

As you can see marginal productivity declines quite quickly - and the 50th scientist actually adds nothing to the project and the 51st actually slows things down :D

#5 Astyanax


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Posted 26 May 2005 - 11:24 AM

In the old game, "Syndicate", there was a definite drawback to hurrying research (sort of like adding more scientists in X-Com).

Research progress would be shown on a chart; the most efficient path would be a 1:1 ratio between time and cost. However, you could choose to dedicate more money to research, but the cost would exponentially increase for diminishing time savings.

In relation to X-Com/Xenocide, the player might research more projects simultaneously... but like Jenny has mentioned, the impact on gameplay (more micromanagement on the player's part) and balancing might not justify the change.
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#6 doubleSkulls



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Posted 29 May 2005 - 08:50 PM

If you make it 0.99 efficiency it would be

#   Total  Margin
1    1.00   1.00
2    1.98   0.98
3    2.94   0.96
4    3.88   0.94
5    4.80   0.92
10   9.14   0.83
20   16.52  0.67
30   22.42  0.53
40   27.03  0.41
50   30.56  0.31
60   33.16  0.22
70   34.99  0.15
80   36.16  0.09
90   36.79  0.04
100  36.97  0.00

So 50 scientists work just over 30 times as quickly as a single scientist. 100 scientists work under 37 times faster.

I don't really see how its much of a micro management issue. Basically you'd know you have diminishing returns, so rather than just assigning everyone to your top priority research item you'd decide how important something was and assign an appropriate number of scientists to it. If you really want something quick throw everything at it - but in general spreading yourself out is more efficient.