Researching tech

Talk about Sarah's upcoming game in the Rebuild series.

Re: Researching tech

Postby sawfish » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:16 pm

I have the same problem with the stacks vs. single scientists - you can't pull a stack off w/o reassigning before you go back to the lab. One other small request for when the tech tree is working: right now, if you click on your scientist to go to his/her character page, then go to the tech tree from that character page, when you go back to the board your scientist will be in defense mode, not researching. I am hoping there will be an easy way to go to the Tech Tree from the erlenmeyer flasks when this segment is complete so just flagging it now.
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Re: Researching tech

Postby jaydedman » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:24 am

What would be cool for efficiency sake is allowing a scientist (group of scientists) to research an entire research tree automatically. So I start a scientist on the beginning of a branch of the technology tree, and she'll just follow it through till the finish. This would be awesome too if I had multiple Laboratories where each science team is following a different tech branch. Obviously I'd need to manage if I needed one tech quickly, but I'd love this automation.
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Re: Researching tech

Postby davea » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:02 pm

If the tech tree doesn't have too many branches, then I agree it is helpful to automatically start the next tech in a chain. I a sure there would still be some event popup which says "the Nth technology is done, starting research on the N+1th". The problem comes with branches, where an important technology choice needs to be made. Also at dead ends (the top end of a branch). If the game automatically decides at these points, then the survivors may proceed down some branch which the player did not even realize was being chosen. The best approach might be to have the game choose automatically at non-branch points but forces the user to choose at branch or dead end points.
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Re: Researching tech

Postby Llapgochmaster » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:54 am

davea wrote:The best approach might be to have the game choose automatically at non-branch points but forces the user to choose at branch or dead end points.


Hmmm. I agree that it's a bit taxing trying to keep track of all your colonists and make sure they're not "wasting cycles". Having scientists continue on in some fashion after completing a tech (perhaps with a big "?" icon on their stack?) might be a nice touch.

But given how central and cool tech research is, and how unlike most other mission types (it's stationary and ideally the team doesn't change), I think maybe tweaking the overall UI for Tech might make sense. Ideas:

    1. Go straight to the tech tree upon clicking "Food preservation researched" event notification. Choose from there.
    2. Have nodes in the tech tree be selectable, thereby indicating the tech you're heading for before you intend to contemplate where to go next. Scientists would auto-research in that direction even if you don't give them new orders along the way.
    3. Have the "Food preservation researched" event be a full pop-up that demands your attention, similar to a random event. Skip the actual location of the scientists as in idea 1.

Continuing my relentless campaign to expunge the "percentage of necessary buildings occupied" bar from the UI, why not replace that bar with the current research progress? Would be more fun to watch, anyways. Of course, if you can research more than one thing at once (good when you've got plenty o' labs) that wouldn't work out so well, unless it was a "time to next breakthrough" indicator.
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Re: Researching tech

Postby davea » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:31 pm

Llapgochmaster wrote:
    1. Go straight to the tech tree upon clicking "Food preservation researched" event notification. Choose from there.
    2. Have nodes in the tech tree be selectable, thereby indicating the tech you're heading for before you intend to contemplate where to go next. Scientists would auto-research in that direction even if you don't give them new orders along the way.

I agree with both of these. For 2, "some" games but not all, allow a complex set of clicks in the tech tree. This may be too complicated to manage. Suppose the tree has three techs in a line, T1->T2->T3, and then a separate branch of three techs X1->X2->X3. I think your suggestion is that clicking on T3 implies that the scientists work on T1, then automatically continue with T2, then automatically continue with T3, then stop. That makes sense and it seems pretty easy.

However, some games with complex tech trees allow you to set up a research path of T1 then T2 then X1 then T3. You do this by clicking on T2, then ctrl-clicking or something on X1, then ctrl-clicking on T3. In the UI, you see a small "#1" over T1, "#2" over T2, "#3" over X1, and "#4" over T3. If you want to change the order, you have to click (not ctrl-click) on something which throws away your old order and starts over.

I am not requesting the ctrl-click approach because this UI is supposed to be super-transparent. But I hope it will be possible to click on T3 to order up T1,T2,T3.

Continuing my relentless campaign to expunge the "percentage of necessary buildings occupied" bar from the UI, why not replace that bar with the current research progress?

I don't understand your relentlessness on this point. The number of buildings occupied is the *primary victory condition*. Shouldn't this be easy to find?
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Re: Researching tech

Postby Llapgochmaster » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:50 pm

davea wrote:I don't understand your relentlessness on this point. The number of buildings occupied is the *primary victory condition*. Shouldn't this be easy to find?


We don't see eye-to-eye on this one, clearly! Here is my position, in all its glory:

In a game of Magic: The Gathering, your "Life" or whatever it is, along with that of your opponent, is the primary victory condition. Turn to turn, you're anxious about whether it's going down too fast, whether you need to adjust your strategy in order to survive, etc.

In Rebuild, your progress towards the arbitrary buildings-occupied number is almost entirely beside the point until you're a couple turns away from achieving it, when a pop-up informs you "hey, you're almost there!". Never have I thought to myself, "Maybe I should take that farm next instead of the police station. After all, I've got 13 of 30 buildings reclaimed!". In light of how little the victory condition has to do with the actual gameplay, it doesn't deserve a giant UI element. Especially when there are other far more interesting and relevant things to keep track of. Putting 13/30 in the top right corner? Sure. Pop-ups reporting progress? Sure.

Truthfully, I don't think the "fraction of town occupied" number should even stick around as a victory condition. A thriving, technologically advanced, well-connected, armed-to-the-teeth colony with a working helicopter and cable television is a post-apocalypse success, no matter how small it is. Getting to one of the genuine victory conditions (secure an escape vehicle, whoop all the ass) will by necessity involve getting pretty big, and playing for a good number of turns, anyways.
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