Headquaters, advanced materials, new players and options

I’ve been giving some serious thought to two things, making headquaters more mechanically interesting than just a cap on your bases, and providing a market for higher tier materials. The two ended up going together very nicely, as well as offering some potentially very desirable side effects

A COGC in your pocket
A while back Gladi suggested that HQs should be able to consume small amounts of resources to provide bonuses in his long list of interesing ideas. Something similar had been bouncing around in my head for a while, but this gave it the nudge to crystalize.

The concept is pretty simple: a HQ can run special programs, where they consume a quantity of specific materials and in return give you a useful bonus for a fixed time. However, since these boosts are on a per-player basis (rather than a per-planet one for COGC) there can be a lot of interesing options. We obviously can have bonuses to a specific expertise or population type like the COGC programs, but we can also give reduced building wear, improved ship speed/efficiency, reduced consumable requirements, you get the idea. Gaining HQ levels unlocks aditional “slots” to run programs in; starting out you would only be able to run one or two programs at once, later on you could run four or five.

Climbing the Tiers
A big problem that we’re seeing at the moment is a lack of incentives to work towards the higher tier production chains and materials. There a handful of uses for high tier goods, but not that many, and very little ongoing consumption of those goods. These boosting programs offer just that: a repeated and attractive use for higher tier goods.

But What About New Players?
Whenever new bonuses, especially those dependant on high tier goods, are suggested there’s a lot of concern about how they might make it hard for new players to compete with an established player who is able to take full advantage of the mechanics. Fortunately, there’s a way to sidestep that issue with this change. Not only that, it’s a chance to give new players and edge when they’re starting out.

The basic boosting programs that enhance an expertise or worker type can come in two variants: one that applies a small boost across all of your bases and another that offers a larger and cheaper boost, but only for the planet with your HQ. A new player who is still on their first base can then take advantage of these cheaper, more pronounced programs to enjoy slightly better profit margins, while players who are well established and are using the galaxy wide boosts enjoy a greater overall profit, albeit at lesser margins.

Turning the Dials (as a player)
We like having toys to fiddle with and optimize, it’s part of the core appeal of the game. Guess what, with this there’s a whole new world of things to tinker with. It’s now potentially rewarding to specialize on a larger scale (a galaxy wide boost to all your resource extraction might put you in a position to focus your efforts primarily on that across many bases).

Turning the Dials (as a developer)
Game balance is really hard, so it’s nice to have a wide range of ways to tweak the strength of different elements. By tweaking the costs of each program and the scale of it’s rewards, a lacklustre industry or commodity could be made more useful. CLFs are spectacularly useless? Make some of the HQ programs use up items made in them. Fuel engineers are struggling across the board? Make the effects of the fuel engineer boosting programs a little bigger. You get the idea.

Incidentals and Caveats
Firstly, an incidental change that I think really ought to go along with these changes: the HQ gives a small bonus to the inventory capacity of the base they’re at (or even have their own dedicate inventory). You’re going to want to be able to store the materials that fuel your boosting programs after all. Plus it can help distinguish you HQ planet for your other bases once you’re focused on.

And a brief caveat: this only really works to provide incentive to climb the tiers if the programs are powerful enough to be worthwhile and consume mid to high tier materials (perhaps mid tier materials for the single planet programs, high tier for galaxy wide programs?).


really like the idea of ‘building consumables’ whether they be programs for an HQ or even applied to individual production lines. it opens up the opportunity for using a whole range of ‘commodities as consumables’, which creates the potential for ongoing demand for higher tier products, as opposed to the current mentality of ‘produce X amount needed for self and tear down expensive production line’. provides motivation and market for folks to use higher tier production lines consistently. great idea.

It could be thematic: A COM can add higher ship speed (through better communication and navigation) for a fixed period, for example. Overall I think there’s a lot more mileage to the Permit system. I think it’ll evolve a bit like the expert system in that you gain permits and can ‘spend’ them in different ways: more bases, bigger bases, more/bigger ships, bonus for surplus permits, bonus programs or systems that consume. I think this’ll lead to more granular permits as not everything is as big as a base. Maybe a 500-area base will be 10 permits, a small ship 2, a 1 EXT resource tap/60 area base 2 permits etc etc.

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