#1 26.07.2017 22:01:36

andreasr
Player
Posts: 7

Experiences with technology trading in LongTurn games

I'm interested in your experiences with technology trading in Longturn games, and the reasons why you have disabled tech trading in the recent Longturn games.
Some players of LongTurn games on Freeciv-web have very strong opinions about wanting me to enable tech trading in LongTurn games for Freeciv-web. I would be thankful if you could share some of your thoughts about tech trading in LongTurn games. Thanks!

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#2 27.07.2017 10:38:25

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 950

Re: Experiences with technology trading in LongTurn games

Hi!

The biggest reason for disabling the tech trading is that it makes the game unbalanced. Tech trading was said to have become a popularity contest. The popular and player who have more time to use for chatting and diplomacy were able to grab pretty much all the tech for free and that made it really difficult for the others to catch up. It also allows some nasty strategies where more advanced units are used while tech stealing is not possible due to player positioning. For example, player A is attacked through the territory of player B and the attacker is player C. Now when the cities are empty the player B takes the cities and keeps them as long as the front moves further away and player C takes the cities from player B. Disabling city trading doesn't prevent this because player B can simply empty the cities, switch to war between B and C and let the player C take the cities.

Tech trading also allows one nation to focus on researching and "sim citying". This strategy allows massive attacks once techs techs are distributed to the allies in one turn. Negative research doesn't prevent this because you only lose one tech with negative / each turn and 50% of the negative bulb balance is wiped out at the turn change.

City trading is also turned off for most games because it allows the more advanced players to build the units for less advanced ones. Player A builds units and homes them to some city. Then player B takes that city, upgrades the units and trades the city back to player A. Now player A has tons of more advanced units he should have. This can be also done with another trick but it's at least less abusive when city trading is off. City trading also allows the front cities to be given for a player in democracy, preventing bribing the cities.

Instead of tech trading we are nowdays using tech leakage. This makes the techs cheaper for everyone (with or without an embassy) who has not invented them. With a 100 player game a tech costing 100 bulbs costs 100 bulb for the fist player researching it and 99 bulbs for the second one. The last player effectively gets it for free since the cost is only 1 bulb. This allows players to easily catch up in the early and mid game. In the late game the effect is no longer that powerful since some of the players are wiped out and will no longer be able to invent techs.

We also experimented with tech loss, meaning that the original owner of the tech might lose the tech when it's stolen, but that resulted with some very odd situations where someone lost something like 15 techs in just few turns when the less advanced players managed to brute force some cities with recently obsoleted, but still relatively useful, units.

LT37 had a 10% chance for tech stealing when cities were captured.

The current game LT38 is without tech trading and tech stealing. LT39 will be the same but for LT40 there will be some form of tech stealing. Not sure yet what that will be.

Btw.... Do you really have 300 players in one game? Or some of them are AI player until humans take them? How many actual human players do you usually have in one game?

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#3 27.07.2017 13:34:25

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 950

Re: Experiences with technology trading in LongTurn games

Now, after saying all that, I have just opened the signups for LT39 and LT40. While LT39 will be a more traditional LT game without tech trading, LT40 will be something different. On LT40 there will be tech trading but with a heavy penalty. The cost of receiving techs will be something like 150% negative bulbs and maybe with a 10% chance for the giving party to lose the tech that is transferred. This is not the first time we have been experimenting with different tech trading settings but it's probably the first time with this heavy penalty. I only wonder how long it takes to find an exploit with this one...

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#4 27.07.2017 17:10:38

andreasr
Player
Posts: 7

Re: Experiences with technology trading in LongTurn games

Thanks a lot for the reply!

> Btw.... Do you really have 300 players in one game?

Yes, there are 300 available human player slots in the latest Freeciv-web LongTurn game. At turn 2 now, it is filled with 142 human players, and I expect that all player slots will be filled within some more turns.

> On LT40 there will be tech trading but with a heavy penalty.

This doesn't seem to be a solution to tech trading making the game unbalanced, though. How is disabling tech trading significantly different from enabling tech trading with heavy penalties?

Last edited by andreasr (27.07.2017 18:45:35)

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#5 28.07.2017 12:25:46

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 950

Re: Experiences with technology trading in LongTurn games

Wow! 142 human players is already... just wow smile

While LT40 is not an experimental game, there are experimental features to it. We will test one more way of letting the players to trade. The difference is that tech trading with heavy penalties allows you to risk it, get the techs if really needed (and there is a source) and try to survive with the new techs, while paying the heavy penalties.

The problem is that if the penalty is not big enough, there may be not too nice problems with balancing. Now I think that while this penalty is supposed to be a big one, there are still exploits left. The final penalties are to be decided.

I also reply here to corbeau about tech upkeep. I registered on forum.freeciv.org but my account is not yet active.

Here is the link to that thread: http://forum.freeciv.org/f/viewtopic.ph … 3&start=10

Tech upkeep might be a solution with different implementation but currently it is not one. On a team game it's relatively easy to void the effects of the upkeep. You get 10 techs, your balance goes negative and you will lose one tech every turn from now to the end of the game because you have no bulb prod for the techs. The player can however avoid most of the issues by simply receiving all the lost and new techs every turn. There is also a chance that you only lose some obsoleted tech like warrior code. The only real problem comes if you lose a government tech, but that is not too probable and is also quickly fixed.

This also gives an advantage to those player who can be online at the turn change. They can immediately get back the lost techs while someone else may need to wait.

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#6 07.08.2017 19:32:13

Marduk
Administrator
From: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Posts: 150

Re: Experiences with technology trading in LongTurn games

LT38 is now well underway, and I have to say I love having tech trading disabled. With tech trading most players end up with about the same level of tech, but now there are real differences between advanced players and low-tech players. This makes the game much more diverse: high tech defensive style versus low tech human-wave attacks etc. Also tech trading means that most people will race through antiquity and end up in modern times too soon. With tech trading disabled there's more time to enjoy ancient warfare, and to make good use of each tech before researching the next one.

Question: I noticed that when one of my cities was captured in LT38, that player stole a tech from me. How big is the chance to steal a tech when capturing a city? How about in Freeciv-web, can players steal techs by capturing cities?

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#7 08.08.2017 05:27:52

HanduMan
Player
Posts: 101

Re: Experiences with technology trading in LongTurn games

Marduk wrote:

Question: I noticed that when one of my cities was captured in LT38, that player stole a tech from me. How big is the chance to steal a tech when capturing a city? How about in Freeciv-web, can players steal techs by capturing cities?

There is a 100% chance to steal a random tech, provided that there are techs unknown to the conquerer of course. The game does not tell you if the other player succeeded in keeping the stolen tech though. There is a chance, defined by ruleset in use, to lose a tech when receiving it by stealing or treaty. In your freeciv client, select Game - Options - Remote server - Scientific tab and look for "Chance to lose a technology while receiving it".

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#8 08.08.2017 11:58:19

Marduk
Administrator
From: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Posts: 150

Re: Experiences with technology trading in LongTurn games

Thanks! Checked it, and the chance to lose an invention while receiving it is set to 100. So no tech is gained through conquest, works for me!

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