Suggestions and thoughts from a new player

So far so good. A few days in and I’m building, trading and shipping, and using spreadsheets a lot. I’m sure my first thoughts are similar to many other new players, but here goes just in case they aren’t…

Relocating experts:
While the idea is appealing, I can see you’d need to prevent 5 bases each exporting their first expert to one other base to avoid the time needed to make that 5th expert. Maybe simply export experts only where there are more experts on the exporting planet. As for a cost, I guess you’d need to provide the expert with a financial incentive to move, and ship a shipment of his belongings… Perhaps limit this to moving to a planet with more buildings/area/workers engaged with the experts area of specialty - ‘following the work’.

Production Queues:
I read a suggestion of longer production queues as having 5 items queued for 36 rigs is just a joke. Could a production queue simply have 1 extra slot for each building or 2 buildings after the first?

Ship design ideas:
Depressurised/Bulk Cargo Silo: Suitable for heavy ores and things that don’t mind the void. Higher mass than volume capacity. Limit items stored by material categories.
Sealed Cargo Tanks: Suitable for gases and liquids. Higher volume than mass capacity. Limit items stored by material categories.
Similar specialised storage buildings could be made for bases.

More bases
While I get the idea is to set up supply chains, the idea that you can’t use the plot next door but can build a floating pressurised area on a gas giant 1,000,000,000km away does seem a bit strange. Extra bases would have the advantage of specialising each base differently. I think the game database isn’t set up for more than one base/inventory per planet. To limit its use there could be a tax based on the number of bases, so by say 3, 5 or 10 bases the tax wipes out any profits. There could be a simple hard 2 or 3 base limit. There could be a time delay of a week, month etc. before building another base and/or a need to have 90% filled the area of your existing bases.
I thought of using a building to implement these limits: the Hyperloop Terminal. Each base needs 1 Hyperloop Terminal per other base on the planet. This provides an initial and repair cost and a rising tax. Say the terminal uses 50 area, by 10 bases there’d only be 25 area left after CM and Hyperloop per base!!!. The problem is what if you demolish/let fall apart the terminals, would you get the extra base for free? Maybe this idea could be redone such that 2nd, third bases have less area. Effectively the above idea hardwired in. This would fit with the below idea, encouraging wide, low rise agriculture and industry on your first base, and forcing high rise on later bases.

Bigger bases:
The hard 500 area limit per planet can be harsh. I’ve tried to think of a way to soften it, but with exponentially increasing costs to limit its use.
If you can’t expand outwards, you’ll have to go upwards (or downwards). Add a Support Beams material/building with a negative area or positive “second-floor” area. Limit it somehow to “cover” the area of the base - except Farms and Orchards because sunlight and soil. This would keep agriculture bases mostly low rise whilst allowing more industrial/technical bases to expand. Perhaps add more floors using 3 support beams for 2nd floor, 6 for third etc so there is an exponential cost, limiting this strategy. Perhaps limit heavy industries to ground floor, manufacturing, chemistry, food processing and electronics to first and second floors whilst allowing core module and habitation up to the third floor.
Tunneling - As support beams, this building/effort creates underground area up to the area of the base. Only works on rocky planets (support beams ‘hanging down’ may be an option for gas planets). Perfect for extractors or rigs (possibly giving them a boost!), usable for buildings but not farms or Orchards (or Solar Panels). This will cost, but perhaps repair costs could be lower and costs for pressure, temperature and gravity negated as it would be a sealed area.

Contracts
Hide fulfilled contracts/sort them to the bottom. Or sort them by origin, destination or time left.

… Oh, and a Storage Bay building to use up the odd 5 area, using a third of the resources and area of a Storage Facility but giving only 20-30% the storage.

Like many I think a smarter production queue would be a good idea. Try this suggestion: a Production Scheduling Office building. Takes between 2 and 5 area and 5 workers max. It allows you to place a ‘scheduled production’ item in the queue and whenever the production building becomes idle, that ‘item’ will decide what is built next based on what you’ve pre-programmed. The ‘item’ will remain in the queue indefinitely despite the building taking a production order. This allows you to place priority projects ahead of it in the queue (we still need the ability to re-order our existing queues) and add low priority items after it so they are only built when the production schedule has nothing to build. For each building type you can then:

Set an infinite queue/constantly make the same thing,
Set it to build thing X whenever there are less than Y of it in stock,
Build a certain thing whenever there are more than Y inputs in stock,
Build a number of things in a ration of X:Y (or X:Y:Z:…),
Skip queued items with no inputs and make the next item in the queue (the skipped item stays in the queue in case there are enough resources next time the building is idle and so on),
Build to a ‘shopping list’ of items (e.g. I want 3 BBH 2 BTA and a ham sandwich…).

I read the idea that starter/CX planets should have smaller base areas. I’d rather see an effective system for removal of bases of inactive players, perhaps liquidating their assets into currency so should the player return one day they can restart with the fruits of their labour, just not hog CX planet area. This might as well be a 3 month inactivity timeout as that’s the degradation limit?

The problem with resource experts is they advantage established players with large scale, mono-industry bases the most, pushing others further out of markets. Efficiencies of scale should be just that: the scale brings efficiency. I wonder if some of the following ideas might go some way to helping: Have experts capped by player not base. This way their advantage is spread thinner the more bases you have. The cap could be soft/scaling like the cap is 6 when you have 1 base, 11 at 2, 15 at 3, 19 at 4 and so on or something like that. Having them per player would allow transfer of experts between bases - ‘following the work’. They could still be generated in a similar way to at present, just across your entire operation, so transfers don’t get around that.

Another thought is to have experts give a flat increase equivalent to adding 1 (or 2 – they are experts) to the workforce of a specialty/type of building. (I thought unit of workforce because a flat % to a BMP with 100 workers gives more benefit than that same % to an incinerator with 10. I can see this isn’t perfect as some buildings, like orchards, have fewer staff for a larger footprint so would benefit more. The only work around would be to have the flat rate increase equivalent to that building being 5-10 area bigger. That would then standardise itself with the limit on base area). With this idea you always get the benefit of experts but new players or those with small, self sufficient bases get more of an initial boost at the start as long as they need and can effectively sell their wares on the market – entrepreneurial outfits attract experts… They could then compete on price with the big boys while not challenging their market share.

Also experts are sent in to solve problems like bottlenecks: a construction expert could be assigned to construction generally, or specifically to PP1s, WELs etc. to help that stage in your operation, or simply to get that one item built faster. This would mitigate issues with one building outputting an amount too high or low for the input of the next building in your operation.

If experts are per player, then that may open up a new possibility: Shipping experts. They could generally increase the ships stats or specialise in Ship Handling (reduce STL travel time)/Fuel Handling (reduce fuel use)/Cargo handling (squeeze more in)/engineering (reduce FTL travel time). This raises the question of should there be a shipping specialty/starter package? Some buildings that serve/advantage your fleet may need inventing: dock, goods handling, long range coms tower, fuel containers, repair bays, EM launch assist…

I do worry that having a cap on base and ship entities will force ships bigger and bigger as no one wants a small, fast ship instead of a base. The obvious response is to have the cap based on formula of ship capacity/value and base area, but that would be complicated. Perhaps instead we’d need a dock/resupply facility/landing pad/… building so ships ‘take up’ base area in proportion to their size, so bringing them into the max base calculation by depriving you of base area. In much the same way ships are registered under ‘flags of convenience’ rather than where they’re used, this may lead to shipping players finding useless backwater planets to fill up with their dead space buildings, while having the advantageous buildings, docks and landing assist etc, on their CX planet ‘headquarters’.

I hear ships will be endlessly customisable. Despite this I predict ship designs will standardise for one simple reason: LMs. LMs require adverts of a set size of things and if you turn up with a ship of 350 capacity empty, there won’t be many contracts you can take, and a ship of 450 capacity will often waste that effort in making it 50 bigger. This reminds me of Panamax and Suezmax descriptions in real life shipping: if your ship is designed to be as big as possible but still fit through the Panama Canal lock gates, then its a Panamax. Same with Suezmax.

Perhaps the game can apply class descriptions to ships of slightly different designs based on capacity, speed, whether they can use FTL engines, whether their cargo capacity is for everything, for bulk goods or for gases (See my previous thought about bulk, gas and general capacities with different ratios of weight to volume). I hope ship designs can be saved and shared, ideally through a kind of text string for copy/pasting.

Naming planets, and systems, could have its pitfalls: knee-jerk or even drunk choices, unpopular choices, regrettable choices etc. in the face of all players for eternity. This could be mitigated by having a choice/proposal announced to all players, anyone can make a comment, or counter suggestion, and then at the end of 1-4 weeks players vote (as at COGC) or if a player is using naming rights to propose a name they make a final decision, which could be to not use up their naming rights and leave the planet unnamed. Voting could be based on influence of those on planet, but all players have a minimum influence. Voting for a name would require an administration center and governor.

I wonder if you could add a way of saving a screen layout to a code/text string (with easy replacement of all planet/system/company codes etc.), this way we could share, and copy and paste, well set up screens. With this the ability to lock a screen setup would be handy.

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I mentioned in chat that I have been thinking that players should be able to add a description to their details, and a description and tag line to their companies details, e.g.

DHL
‘we deliver’
Reliable shipping service in the core planets…

Perhaps planets should be able to have notes, set by the governor. These could be shown to a new player selecting a planet and faction or building a base (or perhaps have a different one for those just inspecting a planet), e.g

‘Welcome to Katoa! A Manufacturing planet in a region with Fuel and Chemicals. Friendly neighbours, please join us!
[We have demand for Carbon Farmers at the moment, so you may even get a free building from us if you choose this!]’

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It looks like there are too many buildings in Manufacturing, and many could be consolidated. This may also solve the issue that, to keep the other buildings working at 100%, some buildings are working nearer 10% (This may also be the case with FS,ELP,CLR,WEL…). The main offenders are EDM,ECA,MCA,SCA. I’m sure they could be consolidated into 2 buildings, at different tiers. ECA and MCA even have the same area and staffing!

The MCA’s recipes could easily be split between the EDM and SCA as the EDM makes electronic devices, the SCA makes electronic parts and the MCA makes 2 of each. The SCA could then be renamed the Electronic Parts Assembly [EPA]. Or simply combine all three as something analogous to the BMP.

Hopefully, with energy and shipping, the ECA would find more use of its own.

… At this rate Manufacturing and Electronics will converge…

I’ve been thinking about the balance between the starting planets, and a lack of faction focus. I haven’t seen a tendency to stay or focus on your faction’s space, especially with Promitor and Etherwind bases being almost a given for each player. Perhaps a 2-3% bonus to productivity, or some tax benefit, for bases within your faction’s space would encourage players to use their factions more. Think of it as ‘local connections’.

As for balance, and again to differentiate the factions, I wonder if players of different factions could have a bonus in a certain Expertise as befits their backstory. This may encourage the factions to each specialise a bit and trade with the other factions. I’m thinking Metallurgy, Construction, Shipbuilding (?) and some advantage from their asteroid generational ship as a space station circling Montem for NC, Manufacturing, Fuel, Chemistry and Electronics for CI, and Agriculture and Food Processing for IC - they really don’t need anything else, have enough of an advantage already and their back story isn’t about anything else. Perhaps NC’s asteroid generational ship could now be a ship building station, there from the beginning, to give NC a free head start in that field.

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Considering the above post about buildings in Manufacturing, I wasn’t the only one a bit concerned by Counterpoint potentially adding more buildings and, by the sounds of it, separating Software off from Electronics as an expertise. While there isn’t enough detail yet, I do hope that if Software separates from Electronics (and presumably stays mid-high tier), Electronics takes some of the electronics manufacturing off of Manufacturing. (If Software gets a Technician level building to flesh out the Expertise, you really should call it Tech Support!)

I get that the BMP is bloated and could logically be split into a T1 clothing workshop (got to be called a Sweat Shop!) and a ‘basic materials plant’ doing just that-materials, but if there are to be more buildings I hope their footprint is smaller. There are some production recipes that, IRL, could easily be switched: a PE plant couldn’t switch to I or MCG so easily, but an OVE workshop could switch to making PWO in a matter of hours - so buildings with a wealth of possible recipes aren’t inherently a bad thing.

My question for the devs would be this: is it intended that a base set up purely for one Expertise can fit at least 1 of each building in that Expertise on it, or more? Is it intended that such bases would have suitable quantities of outputs from one building to feed the next, or would they need say 5 of one building to support 1 of another?

https://com.prosperousuniverse.com/t/finding-the-right-balance-development-log-255/

A little QOL feature would be a clocks buffer, but you can select several time zones, e.g.:

UTC/GMT/Zulu/APEX Time 0:10
BST 1:10
EST 19:10

Like in offices with different clocks on the wall for London, Paris, Montem…

We can name ships, should we be able to name bases?
And could we see our bases on the maps as well as our ships?