2014. január 31., péntek

Experiment: single lab vs many labs per planet


One of the requested feature was the ability to build multiple labs on a single planet. The original game allowed only one per kind. Update 0.95.160 lets the player lift this restriction in a skirmish play. I wasn't sure if it would work from gameplay and AI perspective, therefore, I run a simple test.


I started a normal skirmish with a single human player, set the objective to technology victory and turned on AI assist in-game.

Limited labs - AI

This was the classical case with 1 lab per planet. The AI spent about 1.5 years till 10th February 3429 with a total of 26 planets and labs and $66.56M money spent.

Unlimited labs - AI

The AI successfully built multiple labs on the same planet, but usually never got above 2 per planet. This is due the fact that AI first tries to fill in empty planets first, then tries to swap out existing labs based on the target research requirements. This swap is generally advisable as selling an old lab yields some money which helps in other tasks. The second thing is that AI colonizes planets from time to time so there is always some empty planets where it can build new labs.

The game run from 13th August 3427 to 27th August 3428, about 1 in-game year which is faster than the limited lab case. The AI had 14 planets colonized and 26 labs in total. $60.7M spent.

Allowing multiple labs per planet reduced the time (and cost) of colonizing and building up new planets to support a new lab (usually a 250k investment before the lab is built).

Unlimited labs - me

Again, the main difference between my gameplay and the AI gameplay was that I didn't bother building fleets and defenses but only concentrated on economy and research.

Finished on 7th April 3428, which is about 9 months. Using only 7 planets and a daily $70k income at the end, I spent $6.2M for the planets and research together.

I truly felt here the lack of two features already asked among the issues: use spare lab capacity for something (speed up current or just allow another research to progress as well) and queueing up research. The former speeds up research while the latter reduces number of clicks in the UI. I don't yet know how to deal with these things yet (due to UI and development time limits).


Multiple labs per planet seems to be beneficial to both human and AI players; reduces the times and costs to reach a certain technology level. Note that this might fluctuate a bit depending on the starting planet's capabilities. Still, a human player with experience may finish just under 7-9 months when the chance of battle is zero. 

I'm still thinking about whether to lift the restriction in the main campaign as well. I think a human player would gain unwanted benefits in the scripted missions (especially against the Garthogs) and would not facilitate expansion (and thus, higher tax income later). 

However, as the experiment above shows, AIs tend to work better with the settings and perhaps allowing them to build multiple labs (on Hard) while the player can't could be a good way to harden the game. Unfortunately, campaign non-human races don't really research so there isn't any benefit for them, but use it in skirmish against another human race is a possibility.

2014. január 29., szerda

Game version 0.95.160 released

Notable changes:

  • Fixed the "Continuous money" checkbox displayed on all options pages.
  • Reduced earthquake probability by factor of 10.
  • Fixed Mission 3: Carrier Escort message and video order. Issue #413.
  • Added new characters â to the charset to support French translation (Issue #645)
  • Updated German translation thanks to anonymissimus (Issue #825, Issue #722)
  • Fixed sorting planet names on the info panel (Issue #822)
  • Alliance against extinct/defeated races is not possible anymore (Issue #821)
  • Enhancement: use CTRL+A to select all units in ground battle (Issue #820)
  • Hungarian: Changed Drib Empire to Drib Protectorate (Issue #813)
  • Fixed NPE in diplomacy when offering money (Issue #812)
  • Equipment screen: Add button visible on enemy fleet if it was near its own planet (Issue #819)
  • Conquered planets' tax level is reset to moderate (Issue #802)
  • Hold SHIFT to sell 10 units on the production screen. Hold CTRL+SHIFT to sell 100. (Issue #808)
  • Fixed some space battle related balance issues: (Issue #817)
    • Morale reduction is less intrusive and difficulty dependent. On Easy, you'll lose 5% of the morale, on Hard, you'll lose 20%. If you defended your own colony or conquered another, you lose half of the previous values.
    • Fighters defending a planet won't run towards the attackers on Hard, but remain where they are. Still, they might get lured away. Let me know if the new behavior is enough or not. Also please check if ship kamikaze still behaves as before.
    • Damaged, but otherwise operational defensive buildings will participate in space battles until destroyed.
    • AI won't shoot at fleeing enemies. Still, you can trigger a rocket shot and then flee and drain the AI, but at a much slower rate.
  • Fixed android mission completion turning into failure on some cases (Issue #800).
  • Some minor rendering changes (Issue #746)
  • Fixed autosaves not working after a game over and immediate reload (Issue #798)
  • Changed planet revolt to sell the original owners inventory (tanks, ships, stations) and give the new owner half the sell price (i.e., 25% of production cost). (Issue #739).
  • Planets with race different than the owner will now have about 20% reduced tax morale compared to planets where the owner and race are the same. In addition, alien Police Stations will provide 30% less morale. (Issue #783)
  • Added option to enforce target specific rocket/bomb usage under gameplay options. If checked, you and the AI won't be able to fire a rocket at a building, or a bomb at a ship. (Issue #722)
  • Fixed diplomacy screen accessible in the campaign on level 4 (Issue #749).
  • Added option to accept AI offers such as alliance, surrender and money. (Issue #766). Check out the cheat section of the guide how to trigger these manually.
  • Fixed ground deployment next to impassable positions (Issue #730)
  • Fixed NPE when loading certain older skirmish saves (Issue #656)
  • Added options to allow unlimited labs and factories per planet during a skirmish game (Issue #675)
  • Since Google Code stopped allowing uploads, I'll put the new files to my public shared Google Docs folder. The Launcher should be able to download the necessary files without problems.