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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pyrrhans race, Demo approach, and MoO 1 mechanisms

I would like some feedback on an approach for the demo version that I'm considering.  Since the game is open-source, the only way I can make a demo version is by including only the demo assets.  However, since some racial attributes will be hard-coded at this point, I will need to include races.  So here's what I'm proposing:  I will include each race's neutral portrait, and add a sign on bottom that says happy or angry for those two extra expression portraits.  For ships, ground troops and other artwork, I will draw triangles (think old asteroids triangle ship), stick figures and other simple artwork.  So those races will be in the game, and will be added to the repository, but in order to enjoy the "Full" experience, you'll need to buy the game which will give you the full artwork.  What do you think of this approach?

The artist just finished with the Pyrrhans race, so I'll show what I mean using their portrait as an example (Also showing one of their ships which are pretty cool):

Yeah, that's newspaper on the floor.  Despite their advanced technology and cool ship designs, they can't figure out how to get their bowels under control. :)

Now for the last part, here's what I've uncovered with Master of Orion and how it plays that most people may not have known, and some questions for those who may know the finer details:

1. Remember that when you research a new item, older items reduces their space and cost usage?  I thought that was why the colony special could fit on a medium ship later in game.  But what I didn't realize is that ship space also increases based on construction tech level!  In the manual, it says that ship space increases by 1% per construction level.  When I checked this in-game, it was actually 2% (manual was based on version 1.2, it may have changed in 1.3 or later).  So what this means is that at level 100, the ship space has tripled.

2. I thought that when you select an engine for a ship design, its size would be constant.  I was wrong.  Anything that uses power increases the number of engines required.  This explains why when adding a shield that has 5 space in small ship, it actually uses up 10 space.  The extra 5 space was from engines being added to power the shield.  Now, does anyone have an exact formula for number of engines required?  Does higher level engines have the same number of engines for the same level of power?  How much power does the base empty ship hulls require?


  1. Observe that there is "power" column for almost all items. That's how much power the component needs. Engines have columns for power per engine (imagine a thruster or turbine), size of the single engine and total size of the engines (single size * engine count). Propulsion tech category decreases engine size and in effect decreases the size of power demanding components.

    I miss those subtle bonuses in MoO 2.

  2. I can't check but as far as I remember, the formula is simple

    engine count = power demand / engine power.

  3. Sorry for spamming the comments :)

    I got a chance to start the game and it turns out there is no "power per engine" column. I experimented a little and it looks like the power per engine is 10 * warp factor and that power consumption for maneuvers is wrong. Maneuvering engines do not get less demanding with better engines, their power demands stay 2/15/100/700 * maneuver class.

    I wonder what other technology categories hide. Computer level "secretly" influences espionage, construction level increases space on ships, planetology increases population industrial productivity. Do force fields, propulsion and weapons do something else in addition to decreasing the size of ship components?

  4. Great! Very much what I was hoping you would do, Demo and Retail sharing a codebase, only difference is (lack of) assets.

    Interesting formula analysis too. And thanks for the explanation, Ivan, I never figured that one out.

    That's one of the things that annoys me in most 4X games, lack of mechanical transparency.

    It might be interesting to put information like that in a tooltip with a player-configurable verbosity filter.

    1. It's not just 4X problem, almost all games are shy to explain ALL rules. Take for example Diablo III, how does dexterity influence evasion? Answer is somewhere on the Blizzard's forum. If it was less popular game, there would be no forum and no enthusiasts trying to figure out the formula. Usually games have simple formulas like a + b or a * (1 + bonus %) and tooltip listing how stuff add up would be enough to explaint the effect. Civilization IV and V are good examples of this practice. SM Alpha Centauri is also worth to mention because it's in-game "wiki" explains some game mechanics with pseudocode.

      I skimmed yesterday through Master of Orion manual and weapon tech level has "secret" bonus. It influences severity of successful sabotage.