Uncertain Spell Research

Thanks to ShockMeSane for the idea

By on February 12, 2009 4:27:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Ynglaur

Join Date 05/2006
+10

ShockMeSane had a great idea over in the General forum: research results in a chance to learn a spell, rather than a guarantee.  I'd like to see this further expanded by borrowing from MOO3, and have research slide.  Sometimes you can get a spell at Level 2, other times Level 4.  What might be interesting is to have the chance to get a given Spell increase with Research Level, but never be 100%.

Example: Nature's Pity is a mass healing spell.  For every level in Life, you get a 5% chance to research it; for every level in Water, you get a 1% chance to research it.  You get to "roll" to get the spell every time you increase your highest level between Life and Water (or, perhaps, every time you increase either).

Even having the ability to configure (i.e. mod) this behavior would be nice, even if it isn't used by default.

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February 12, 2009 6:14:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

this was actually discussed to great detail in a different thread (or two).   Its an old thread, so we do need a 2nd one.  I just wanted to point it out for people who wanted to go back and look at the older ideas.

I wonder how things have changed now that we know more about the game in terms of opinions.

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February 12, 2009 6:36:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea of research effort (for spells/tech/whatever) being somewhat uncertain, especially as the amount of user made content grows and you might not even know what all of the potential spells are/do, but I'm wary of it as well. I think my concern would be that you might get shafted with no way to recover (through no fault of your own), which could be especially annoying late game.

What about an adjustment of the idea - you're researching "the next spell tier" in Water+Life. You don't know exactly what spell you'll get, but you know you'll get some spell from a group that's equivalent in power. So maybe you get Nature's Pity or maybe you get Nature's Wrath (or some other power-equivalent spell).

Or perhaps your research reveals that you can't get the spell you were trying for (Nature's Pity), but through all your effort all of your Water+Life spells are cheaper to caste since you now know so much about the topic.

I'm just not sold on the idea that I could be researching a tech forever (in a game, mind you) and never get anything for the effort.

 

And yes, I often turn off the Mega Events in GalCivII for that very "late game getting shafted sucks" reason Sometimes it's fun, but more often I feel frustrated after investing hours of time that I'm now in a signficantly (and maybe unwinnable) scenario.

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February 12, 2009 6:43:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think research should not be entirely random. If you're a chemist trying to make fizzy soda, its *possible* that you discover gunpowder in the process. But more likely you will just learn to make fizzy drinks.

There should be different random events just for research. For example you could have the out of the blue "lucky discovery" where you get a free tech. A "suprise innovation" where you discover a new tech partially researched" and stuff like that.

At the same time you could get negative random events. If you are studying a car to find out how it works, and the car suddenly explodes for some reason. Then you no longer have a car to research, so until you get your hands on another research would stall.

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February 12, 2009 7:30:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not a fan of complete blind research.  Its not intuitive and its not all that natural, and generally makes for disappointing sessions when you get a string of bad luck with your dice.  Yes some discoveries have been made on accident, but its hardly the rule of scientific advancement.  As Tamren said:

If your a chemist trying to make fizzy soda, its *possible* that you discover gunpowder in the process. But more likely you will learn to make fizzy drinks.

What could be interesting would be 2 types of research, experimental and advanced research.  Advanced research, is simply the advancement and improvement of already existing knowledge, basicly if you have fireball lvl 1, you can research fire ball lvl 2.  Experimental research would then be discovering new spells altogether simply by trying new techniques and ideas.

Experimental research wouldnt be completely random though.  If you had your fireball spell for instance, it could serve as a knowledge base for a firewall spell. But if you had no knowledge of a certain area of magic, it would be mostly blind when you research your first spell in that area.  Even then, spells could be cross connected even amoungst different elements.  For instance, a firewall spell could lead naturally into a wind wall spell.

Its all a matter of how elaborate the connections are.  Now, I'm assuming EWoM will have your standard, click and research method most games have, where you pick your way across the tech tree.  And will have an option at game creation for blind research. I'm not saying they wouldn't want to make a more elaborate system, but chances are, the budget and time constraints will require them to focus their resources else where.

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February 12, 2009 9:36:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One idea for research- might be too computational though

For research points, you roll a 1d100.

Let's say you have 200 research points

You are researching fireball

You roll a 58

 

You get 116 points towards Fireball.

The other 84 points goes towards various spells you haven't researched, that are related- either the subsequent spell, or another spell that has a prerequisite, or other fire spells at random.

 

Creativity gives you a shot of "exploding" dice rolls, where your research points have a shot of causing more research points.

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February 13, 2009 1:35:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really like DrGuppies idea, you indicate in which direction you research but you can't say which specific spell will be found.

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February 13, 2009 11:45:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

I thought Age_of_Wonders:SM provided a good method for obtaining spells.

AoW:SM   you would choose your magic spheres and this decided what type of spells you could recieve.  You would not receive all spells of one type unless you chose to master in only one sphere.   When choosing a combination of spheres if you decided to place more interest in fire then you'd recieve more fire spells.  During the game you'd choose from the book which spell to research from a list of 8 spells and the overall total was something like 30 spells.   Spells could also be acquired from quests or magic structures or trading.

Unfortunately the AI opponents would trade their good spells away for gold and worthless structures.

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February 14, 2009 12:20:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I definetly think that you should be able to direct your research....

How much does it suck to be trying to research an offensive spell (I am researching fire here....) and then you end up with something that you didn't really want--- Wall of fire... 

Its nice and all.. but now you have to start out again trying to research.  That always feels like a let down.

I do like the random chance of success though.  Both MOO2 and MOM had this element.  each turn you would get a certain amount of guaranteed research points as well as some random amount.  Either that or you have a certain amount you gain each turn and then you have a chance to succeed... 1.5x total required = guarantee, less and you get to roll til you get there.  That way sometimes you get lucky and get a spell early.. sometimes you might have to wait a little longer than normal.

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February 14, 2009 4:05:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

if you increase random elements then you do add a huge luckfactor to the game. This means that the game can only be played with moderate skill, and the winner is mostly desided by luck among pretty even players. If the random factor is bigger then weaker and weaker players can beat the top players.

Since spells/technologies are rarely useful in many situations, it is better if we choose which spells/technologies we get.

With other words higher luck factor reduses the impact skill has on who wins the game. Especially when it applys to important things such as spells or technologies.

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February 14, 2009 9:43:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Of course, the random element shouldn't be too big. But some variety in the spell research tree (or at least in the order you can research them) would work fine. Cfr. MoM where you also had a random factor determining which new spell became available next.

There could be some more intelligent mechanics rather than just a random factor, e.g. if you could research "offensive fire spells" you don't know exactly which one will come out but at least you determine the direction you want to go in.

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February 14, 2009 10:22:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Noctilucus,
... But some variety in the spell research tree (or at least in the order you can research them) would work fine. Cfr. MoM where you also had a random factor determining which new spell became available next. ...

Thanks for jogging my sorry excuse for a memory. I think that the MoM process here could be an ideal compromise between dice-loving playstyles and total-control playstyles. It's a marriage of chance and choice.

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February 14, 2009 11:14:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Sounds like the same as AOW:SM... as I mentioned earlier.

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February 14, 2009 1:56:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really liked how MoM did it.

Based on how much knowledge you had at the start of the game in a given spell school you were able to preselect a certain number of spells from various tiers that you definielty would be able to research eventually, and you were also given a certain number of spells in each tier of that school that you did not know in advance what you would get.

I like the mix of having a certain degree of control but also a large degree of random factors.

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February 15, 2009 4:05:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

some randomness in games makes the games more fun to watch and play.

But it comes at the price that the game can never include a realistic ladder, since a relatively poor player can quite often beat a top player. Aka master of magic, AOW series etc

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February 15, 2009 8:05:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting KnutAreMykland,
some randomness in games makes the games more fun to watch and play.

But it comes at the price that the game can never include a realistic ladder, since a relatively poor player can quite often beat a top player. Aka master of magic, AOW series etc

A relativley poor player should not be able to beat a top player, that doesn't mean that the top player can't suffer setbacks or the poor player have some lucky breaks.

I don't think anyone wants to remove skill/thought from a winning equation, but in my opinion a "top player" would be someone who wins even with some setbacks. At least personally, I wouldn't want to include a such a level of random chance that the game would be decided by it. I'm certainly not suggesting that you research "fire attack spell" and instead end up with "water growth spell".

After all, we accept huge amounts of luck and chance in our sports and they have ladders. Granted, they reset yearly, but they have them.

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February 15, 2009 11:36:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I also thought of a second way for research to be done, the could satisfy both the desire for randomness, while still keeping victory to skill and not blind lunk.

The basic structure is a bit simplified over all.  Instead of researching a specific spell, you research a school, and advance your knowledge in that school.  There are a few basic tried and true spells, that you will always gain access to in each school at every teir of advancement.  At the same time, you are given a random selection of more complex spells that are more situational in nature of which to pick from.

The idea, is that the spells that are more generally useful and a bit more boring are always available.  And the more situational, varied and interesting spells randomly become available if you're lucky.  You might get a bit of fortune and be able to choose a powerful and fun spell if not limited, but reguardless you'll have that fireball spell, or general healing spell at your disposal.

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February 15, 2009 3:53:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting KnutAreMykland,
some randomness in games makes the games more fun to watch and play.

But it comes at the price that the game can never include a realistic ladder, since a relatively poor player can quite often beat a top player. Aka master of magic, AOW series etc
That's not true. On average, you will have an equal amount of "lucky breaks" and "tough luck". The skill would lie in investing in the proper lines of technology and manipulating the odds.

In a way, it could potentially add a lot more skill than a "follow this scheme for optimal output, every single playthrough"-research.

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February 15, 2009 4:48:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Luck always plays a factor - even if it is that you make a lucky guess as to what your opponent is up to. Luck should never be so dominant that a poor player beats a skilled player.

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February 15, 2009 5:38:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

All eyes are on stardock to let us know how they are doing it.  I still vote for uncertain research, but the ability to modify the selection of spells to which you have access.

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February 16, 2009 12:24:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah its hard to decide which would work better because we so little about what is planned.

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February 16, 2009 9:26:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think after Elemental is released, someone should harvest all unused ideas and come up with a completely different game just based on those

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