#1 06.11.2017 18:35:30

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 1,041

How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

The cost of the tech trades can be converted to bulbs/gold. The rough way to do is this is the following: cost in bulbs = (UnitCost*2)/(SuccessProbability*TransferProbability)

UnitCost = how many shields does the unit cost to build.
SuccessProbability = how probable it is that the diplo or spy succeeds at all.
TransferProbability = how probable it is that the tech is transferred and the player stealing it gets it.

Now the question is, how many bulbs/gold should it cost to steal techs that are stolen with a diplomat. Those techs are roughly anything between warrior code (36 bulbs) and radio (2016 bulbs). Those stolen with a spy are roughly something between steel (1728) and fusion power (10800 bulbs). The spy techs are maybe 2000-2500 for the most part.

What do you think, how expensive should it be?

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#2 07.11.2017 09:45:45

Corbeau
Player
Posts: 351

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

I didn't know spies can steal multiple times from each city. That's ok then.

If you really want to make newer techs more expensive to steal, create a whole series of spy units that obsolete each other, each one more expensive. Yes, people could early on build cheap ones, but early investment in a non-growing asset generally more expensive than the later investment due to growth and expansion.

But if you do that, you are simply giving a discount for techs, making them slightly cheaper, not really "allowing tech exchange".

Basically, I'd go with 10% of the price, maybe even less. Or a square root of the value.

But, I'll say this again, you are starting to overcomplicate things because of your desire to curb real tech exchange. You made arguments that even tech upkeep makes things too easy. Well, the thing is, if an alliance is willing to have one or two members tag along and not contribute to the research pool, then this alliance will be less advanced than the one whose all members stick to the programme. The "popularity contest" aspect is also gone due to tech upkeep so, basically, all problems are solved.

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#3 07.11.2017 10:14:50

wieder
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Posts: 1,041

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

The upkeep with tech trade doesn't really make it too easy but allows exploits. You can give 10 techs at once, lose one at tc, never research anything and always just have one tech short of the latest techs your ally has.

The free techs are the problem because it makes it a popularity contest and the biggest alliance wins. The idea with spy/diplo tech trading is that there is some actual basic cost for the trading. This can't be implemented with tech trade because you can just give all the techs every turn without any additional cost. We tested that and it really works like that. You only need to have an ally clicking give techs every turn.

With diplo/spy tech trading there is an actual cost for this and this is about defining how high that cost should be. I think 10% is really really low. Something like 40-50% would be nice so that you would be effectively trading production to techs and really paying for them.

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#4 07.11.2017 12:10:03

Corbeau
Player
Posts: 351

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

wieder wrote:

The upkeep with tech trade doesn't really make it too easy but allows exploits. You can give 10 techs at once, lose one at tc, never research anything and always just have one tech short of the latest techs your ally has.

Also, at one point, if your science is crap, you will start losing techs every turn simply because upkeep will overrun gain and you'll always have a negative value. Yes, people can continue stuffing you with them, but it's a mess, you have to spend a lot of time managing it and eventually your allies will get annoyed. Especially if it's not an Alliance Victory game and they keep spending their time and bulbs on their opponent.

The free techs are the problem because it makes it a popularity contest and the biggest alliance wins.

Not necessarily, because tech upkeep is (or can be, and should be) per city. Bigger alliance has more cities thus pays more upkeep. Technically, in the end, a bigger alliance may have a slightly quicker progress, but it is far from linear. Also, there is tech leak. I think those two things combined make a significant effect.

The idea with spy/diplo tech trading is that there is some actual basic cost for the trading. This can't be implemented with tech trade because you can just give all the techs every turn without any additional cost. We tested that and it really works like that. You only need to have an ally clicking give techs every turn.

But in those cases you had Alliance Victory enabled, right?

With diplo/spy tech trading there is an actual cost for this and this is about defining how high that cost should be. I think 10% is really really low. Something like 40-50% would be nice so that you would be effectively trading production to techs and really paying for them.

Then it's just more of the same. People who are behind in technology are also behind in production. So I don't really see the point. Or you could say that this way some nations specialise in production so then they can "buy" tech from others, but in the end, it amounts to the same thing.

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#5 07.11.2017 12:17:58

fran
Player
Posts: 33

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

wieder wrote:

The upkeep with tech trade doesn't really make it too easy but allows exploits. You can give 10 techs at once, lose one at tc, never research anything and always just have one tech short of the latest techs your ally has.

The free techs are the problem because it makes it a popularity contest and the biggest alliance wins. The idea with spy/diplo tech trading is that there is some actual basic cost for the trading. This can't be implemented with tech trade because you can just give all the techs every turn without any additional cost. We tested that and it really works like that. You only need to have an ally clicking give techs every turn.

With diplo/spy tech trading there is an actual cost for this and this is about defining how high that cost should be. I think 10% is really really low. Something like 40-50% would be nice so that you would be effectively trading production to techs and really paying for them.

Do I get this right: You want to implement "pull tech trading" by allowing the player that wants to gain a tech
to do so by using a diplomat/spy. The cost is the cost for building the diplomat? Because the diplomat is sent from
the receiver to the owner of the tech and is gone afterwards?

Theoretically, there could be "push" or "pull" tech trading, depending on what party takes action, he who tansfers
or he who receives. "Push tech trading" could happen for example via a migrant/immigrant, that is send by
the owner of the tech to the receiver. That would cost the sender population, and that is quite realistic, after all
transfering a tech doesn't mean just handing over some papers, but human capital.
Wether the sender demands a price for that is up to the sender and receiver to decide. Price could be gold, if gold trading
is enabled.

That way you have a clear distinction between stealing a tech (pull) and trading a tech (push).

The cost for tech trading would be:
-- building a migrant for each tech, therefor loosing population
-- sending him to the receiver, which alone might be impossible or take a long time, taking the risk of loosing the unit
-- whatever sender and receiver settle on

Last edited by fran (07.11.2017 12:20:39)

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#6 07.11.2017 12:43:33

wieder
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Posts: 1,041

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

Corbeau:

I've been playing with people who have no trouble giving all the techs every turn and by that keeping the other player up to date with techs. It's really not that much trouble. Just few clicks are needed every turn. The more casual players however might feel this trouble and this leads to another problem. The hard core players would have another advantage over the casual players because they can and will do the few clicks needed for this to work. Player A could research the techs and player B could focus on war. Having just one "winner" doesn't really change that because lots of players would be happy to "guarantee" a spot on top 5 for doing this. I'm not trying to be against regular tech trading/upkeep just because but for a reason that there is an easy exploit for that. Not every exploit needs to be patched but this is an obvious and easy one you can really use to beat the others.

The production issue is a valid one, but then again, this is so much about the resources you have. The diplo/spy trading basically allows you to convert production into techs. Kind of the same effect you have with tax/sci settings. You can have max tax and use the gold for buying stuff and making your nation to have more buildings or units. Or you can use those resources for science and effectively convert some of the production into bulbs. The tech trading with units gives you another way of doing the same thing. It definitely amounts to the same thing if there are no "free" techs you could get via tech trading.

It would be a completely different thing if it would be possible to limit the number of techs given in one turn but currently there is no option for that. At least none I know of.

Fran:

The idea to use migrants or similar units would be a really cool one but I have no idea if it would be possible to implement something like that with ruleset changes. Most likely not since the diplomatic actions are mostly hard coded on the game. There are now new units that will cost population and some old units no longer have this cost. The drafter musketeers, drafter riflemen, partisans, settlers, immigrants, migrants and colonists now cost population to build. Fanatics no longer cost population but require fundamentalism.

To trade you need to send a diplomat or spy to attempt to make the trade. Those units could cost population but I feel that it might be too extreme. It's now about getting return to your investment costing shields and because of rulest limitations there are not that many ways to implement it.

I would love to implement tech trading with some more elegant way but this is currently the best I can come up with. Assuming that techs shouldn't be transferred easily without a real cost.

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#7 07.11.2017 12:59:53

Corbeau
Player
Posts: 351

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

wieder wrote:

Corbeau:

I've been playing with people who have no trouble giving all the techs every turn and by that keeping the other player up to date with techs. It's really not that much trouble. Just few clicks are needed every turn. The more casual players however might feel this trouble and this leads to another problem. The hard core players would have another advantage over the casual players because they can and will do the few clicks needed for this to work. Player A could research the techs and player B could focus on war. Having just one "winner" doesn't really change that because lots of players would be happy to "guarantee" a spot on top 5 for doing this. I'm not trying to be against regular tech trading/upkeep just because but for a reason that there is an easy exploit for that. Not every exploit needs to be patched but this is an obvious and easy one you can really use to beat the others.

Just one question: did using this exploit help beat the others? And was the exploit crucial or did other things (like experience, dedication and, possibly, numbers) contribute?

Also, you said that " lots of players would be happy to guarantee a spot on top 5". Well, if this lot is more than 5, then we have an interesting situation wink

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#8 07.11.2017 13:21:31

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 1,041

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

Yes, this exploit greatly helped to beat the others. It allowed all the resources used on unit building and none for sci production. Experience and dedication made it solid and definitely contributed.

5 was just an example but yeah, something like that.

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#9 08.11.2017 10:01:38

Corbeau
Player
Posts: 351

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

Fair enough. So, to go a bit more on-topic:

wieder wrote:

I've been playing with people who have no trouble giving all the techs every turn and by that keeping the other player up to date with techs. It's really not that much trouble. Just few clicks are needed every turn.

This is made very, very difficult, if not impossible, if techs are exchanged via diplomats and spies regardless of their price. First, you have to build a diplomat. it takes not only resources, but also time during which your city doesn't build anything else. Also, if you want to speed-build it, it's far more expensive, and if you pile them up in advance you tka away the most important, early resources. Second, you have to get and keep those units in the vicinity of the cities you wish to steal from Actually, keeping all this in mind, I'd be in favour of the diplomat/spy costing no more than 10% of the tech price. Like I said, a larger percentage - and especially what you proposed, 50% - makes this meaningless. For a mid-game tech that costs, say, 600 bulbs, you'd have to spend 150 shields. That's a medium sized wonder. Just for one tech. Simply doesn't make sense.

Also, if diploamts can steal tech only from one city, I'd replace them far earlier in the game, way before Espionage. Ok, call it something else, "Diplomat II" or "Senior Diplomat" or "Envoy". Actually, really, make a whole sequence of units that become gradually more expensive (but, again, 50% of the tech cost is WAY too much). There are 18 tech columns in the Science screen. ok, it's not all linear but what the hell, approximations are good and useful. Is it possible to make more techs uncover a single unit? Make six units, one for every three columns, and spread them apart, adjust prices, make it possible to steal techs from the same city and it's basically a good system.

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#10 08.11.2017 11:50:08

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 1,041

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

Yes, this is indeed very hard even if not almost impossible with spies and diplomats. The 50% cost is also not really 50% cost but just an average. Fusion costs more than 10 000 bulbs and it can be stolen / traded with the same cost. For steel the cost is 33% and for fusion power about 6% of the cost. With diplomats it's something between 50%-10% of the cost. Because of how the system works, there is no way to really define a % cost for doing this. The cost is unfortunately fixed. Now I also believe that very few people would really need to trade/steal very cheap techs techs like those on the first or second level. Stealing/trading gets more and more profitable when the techs become cheaper. The current cost is not that far from the 10% but on some cases it's much more. Very hard to change this without making the trading/stealing really cheap.

I was thinking about replacing the diplomats but this is another feature we can't have because of the ruleset limitations. The diplomatic stuff is hard coded and there are just two types of the units. I would love to have at least third unit between diplomats and spies but that would be able to poison cities and this is kind of too powerful side effect. We could only replace diplomats and make them more expensive, but that wouldn't be too elegant.

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#11 08.11.2017 12:08:12

Corbeau
Player
Posts: 351

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

Yes, there are two types (or, rather, two flags), so simply make different units with the same flag, but a different build cost and tech requisite, that obsolete each other.

For example:

Alphabet: 10 shields
Monarchy: 20 shields
Republic: 30 shields
Democracy: 40 shields
Communism: 50 shields
Radio: 60 shields

(This is based on LT38 techtree, adjust if needed; techs decided approximately, at appropriate level and so that it makes some sense)

You could make a transition from Diplomat to Spy on the 2nd or the 3rd level to make it possible to get techs from the same cities multiple times. To avoid confusion, name them Diplomat I and II, Spy I, II, III and IV.

edit: And keep in mind that, if chance is 50%, on the average, it will take two diplomats to steal one tech.

Last edited by Corbeau (08.11.2017 12:16:29)

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#12 08.11.2017 12:17:30

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 1,041

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

We could do that but it would make the spy tech pointless. If you get spies on early game with 2nd or 3rd level techs, you could also start poisoning the cities at that time and it's even harder to protect against poisoning in the early game when everyone has very few units.

I really doubt that stealing / trading techs would be super important before the mid game. The tech leak is really working well before techs like gunpowder or conscription. With 15 cities the players could trade / steal 15 techs each and for diplomats there are about 30 techs worth stealing. Maybe 40 max.

This is not perfect by any means but especially poisoning is just too powerful and there is no way to make multiple trades from one city without the ability to poison.

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#13 08.11.2017 12:33:33

Corbeau
Player
Posts: 351

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

You missed the point. I was explaining the principle, not making the final proposal wink So, yes, if "stealing multiple times from the same city" is inseparably tied to poisoning, then a lot of thought needs to be given to the moment when a Diplomat grows into a Spy.

The main point I was trying to make was different prices.

HOWEVER, there is also the issue of a defending diplomat that can significantly increase the chance of poisoning failure. There is also a diplomat defence bonus. If this is adjusted, poisoning could become very difficult if there is one defending diplomat in the city and maybe impossible if there are more. So I'd go for the principle: Diplomats are made as cheap as possible, Spies come in as early as possible, but more expensive.

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#14 08.11.2017 12:53:35

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 1,041

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

Easy to miss points smile

Maybe something could be worked of the Early Spy unit LT40 has.

[unit_early_spy]
name          = _("Early Spy")
class         = "Non Military"
tech_req      = "Communism"
gov_req       = "Monarchy"
obsolete_by   = "Spy"

It could become available even before Communism even while most of the early units are there only one tech early. Maybe with industrialization.  Also the players could choose to play with monarchy if they really need to focus on stealing. The whole early unit thing is about giving governments more value and add new strategies about choosing the right gov.Someone might ask why Monarchy and a Spy? It's the James Bond thing smile

The revolution time is also only one turns so that in LT40 you really can change often and not spending about 1,5% of the game in anarchy every time you switch.

With spy vs. spy ( big_smile ) or diplo vs. diplo fight the odds for success / failure are about 50:50 but when  spy fights diplo it's 70:30 and this can't be changed with the ruleset settings.

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#15 08.11.2017 13:12:16

Corbeau
Player
Posts: 351

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

wieder wrote:

Easy to miss points smile

Maybe something could be worked of the Early Spy unit LT40 has.

[unit_early_spy]
name          = _("Early Spy")
class         = "Non Military"
tech_req      = "Communism"
gov_req       = "Monarchy"
obsolete_by   = "Spy"

It could become available even before Communism even while most of the early units are there only one tech early. Maybe with industrialization.  Also the players could choose to play with monarchy if they really need to focus on stealing.

I don't think we should make things complicated. Just make a developmental path so that those things get more expensive as we move through the tech tree?

The whole early unit thing is about giving governments more value and add new strategies about choosing the right gov.Someone might ask why Monarchy and a Spy? It's the James Bond thing smile

I don't think the goal should be "giving governments more value". Maybe more diversity for specific goals, but in the end, the goal and the playstyle is what dictates which government to use. I believe that the "hm, this government is not being used, let's give it some bonuses so that people use it" attitude is a complete fail. More backward governments should be good as a path toward more advanced ones, but, in the end, the path should lead forward, not to some romantic ideal what a government should be wink

And UK is only nominally a monarchy. In all effect, it is democracy wink

With spy vs. spy ( big_smile ) or diplo vs. diplo fight the odds for success / failure are about 50:50 but when  spy fights diplo it's 70:30 and this can't be changed with the ruleset settings.

Mate, we discussed this. There is a setting that gives a city defending diplomat a bonus.

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#16 08.11.2017 13:29:46

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 1,041

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

This may be a one-time experiment with the early units. Something that was proposed back in the days. Shouldn't be anything too powerful anyway. Some govs were really not usable at any time and they are now changed to suit some specific playing styles and strategies. Like despotism. It was kind of broken in 2.5 but working on 2.3. It was fixed and now it allows one strategy some people used back in the days.

And China is not really communistic country. At least not in the traditional sense.

The city defending diplomats and bonuses for them are one thing but this was about the base chances for spy-spy spy-diplo.

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#17 08.11.2017 13:36:23

Corbeau
Player
Posts: 351

Re: How expensive it should be to steal/trade a tech?

wieder wrote:

The city defending diplomats and bonuses for them are one thing but this was about the base chances for spy-spy spy-diplo.

What i'm saying is, if this bonus is good (at least 50%) then even a defending diplomat has a chance against poisoning spy, not to mention spy vs. poisoning spy. So then the risk of early poisoning is a bit smaller. I was replying to your remark that allowing spies too early would make poisoning too powerful in the early game. Well, this is counteracted by cheap diplomats and diplomat defence bonus.

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